The Plaza Literary: First Chapters Prize

The Plaza Literary: First Chapters Prize

Judged by Jason Mott

1st prize: £1500 ($1750). 2nd prize: £300 ($375). 3rd prize: £100 ($125)

5000 words max. + 300-word synopsis

US National Book Award Winner, Jason Mott, is the judge of The Plaza Literary: First Chapters Prize. He is a bestselling author of four novels and has received numerous awards and accolades for his work including The Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, a Carnegie Medals For Excellence in Fiction Longlist selection, an Aspen Words Literary Prize Longlist selection, a Chatauqua Prize Finalist, a Joyce Carol Oates Prize Longlist selection.

In 2021, Jason was the winner of The US National Book Award for Fiction, for his fourth novel, Hell of a Book. It is a hell of a book. Read it, and see. It is a very cleverly crafted masterwork and deeply affecting. It breaks and remakes the rules and is truly novel. If you’ve written a hell of Literary novel, or have started writing one, send us the first 5,000 words, plus a One-Pager (300-word plot synopsis).

ProWritingAid has generously sponsored The Plaza Literary: First Chapters Prize. “We are thrilled to partner with The Plaza Prizes and support emerging writers taking their first step towards getting published,” said Chris Banks, CEO of ProWritingAid. “ProWritingAid is the perfect fit for writers looking to bring their vision and their story to life.”

You cannot edit enough before submitting to a literary prize. The bar is set incredibly high. Use ProWritingAid FREE to get personalized feedback, polish your prose, tighten storytelling, and catch any lingering grammar issues BEFORE submitting.

All entrants will receive FREE ProWritingAid critiques of their first chapters submission. AI tools can act as beta-readers, dramatically help you sharpen your skill-sets.

'A structurally and conceptually daring examination of art … [which] somehow manages the impossible trick of being playful, insightful, and deeply moving all at the same time.'

US National Book Foundation about Hell of a Book

The Prizes

First Prize: £1500 ($1750)

The winning Literary: First Chapters entry will be published in The Plaza Prizes Anthology 2. The winner will also receive a one-hour long Zoom tutorial with the judge, Jason Mott, US National Book Award Winner. The winner will receive a one year subscription to the AI editing tool, ProWritingAid (Premium Pro, worth £144).

Second Prize: £300 ($375)

ProWritingAid will award the second prize winner a month-long subscription to the excellent AI editing tool, ProWritingAid.

Third Place: £100 ($125)

ProWritingAid will award the second prize winner a month-long subscription to the excellent AI editing tool, ProWritingAid.

Terms and Conditions



  • Deadline: 31st July 2024
  • Writers can enter any number of times. (£20.00. Subsequent entry: £10.00)
  • Entries can be in any style or form, but must be in English, and written for adults.
  • Entries must be submitted online. No email submissions. In exceptional circumstances, postal entry may be accepted, as long as a cheque made out for the correct entry fee is sent to The Plaza Prizes Ltd. (Postal address is on Contact Form.)
  • Enter the correct version of your work. If you make a mistake, entry fees will not be refunded. (You will have to enter again.)


Read the rules carefully before entering the competition. Entry implies acceptance of all the rules and failure to comply will result in disqualification.

All entries are judged anonymously. Please do not include your name, address, phone number, email, website, twitter handle etc on the document or in the file name or it will be disqualified.

Entries will be disqualified if they are over the word limit, or have no synopsis, and there will be no refund.

Entries must be entirely your own work. They may be from an original work-in-progress or a completed novel.

Entries must NOT have been published on any website, blog or online forum, broadcast.

Entries must NOT have won in any other competition. If your entry was long-listed or shortlisted in other competitions it is eligible.

Simultaneous submissions are allowed but if an entry wins a prize elsewhere, is published or scheduled for future publication, prior to the date of prize giving, you must inform us to withdraw immediately. Entry fees will not be refunded.


A 300-word synopsis.

The opening chapters of your Literary novel. (5,000 words, max).


£20.00 per Literary: First Chapters entry (with synopsis). (Subsequent entry: £10.00)

Entries must be submitted online. No email submissions.


  • Entries must be typed and double-spaced, with numbered pages and the title on every page.
  • Save as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or PDF file with the title as the file name. Do not include your name in the file name as this will lead to disqualification.
  • Max 2MB file. Include the word count for the synopsis, and Literary: First Chapters, top right, first page.
  • Do not add cover pages
  • No illustrated work


The judges’ decision is final. No individual correspondence can be entered into. Judges are unable to comment on individual entries. The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to change the judge without notice.


Copyright remains with the author, but The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to publish extracts from winner and runner-up on the website, and also to use quotations from the 10 shortlisted entries for publicity purposes.

Results & Awards

The winner and runner up will be announced on the website and social media on 1st September 2024. The winner will be published in The Plaza Prizes Anthology 2. Extracts from first, second, and third place novels may be published on our website.

Bursary Scheme

In 2023-2024, we are offering 100 FREE ENTRY BURSARIES across all our competitions to writers on low incomes, and from underrepresented groups. You can apply for a bursary if low income, class, race, age, gender, sexuality, caring responsibilities, location, disability, or mental and physical health affects your writing. We want to encourage equality to discover quality new writing from diverse voices. Click here to apply for our Bursary Scheme.


The Plaza Prizes expects to be recognised in any long listed or shortlisted Literary novels that are subsequently published.

The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to amend the rules where it deems necessary. Any changes to the rules will be posted on our website.

If you have a query about eligibility, please contact: simon@theplazaprizes.com

Are you ready to share your creation?

Enter now