Eccles Centre and Hay Festival Writer's Award opens call for submissions

Eccles Centre and Hay Writer's Award

The Eccles Centre at the British Library has opened submissions for the Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer’s Award 2020.

The £20,000 prize, now in its eighth year, is the only literary award to combine a substantial prize fund with a year-long residency at one of the world’s most prestigious libraries. Open to authors of both fiction and non-fiction for a current writing project related to the Americas (North, Central and South America and the Caribbean), the Award provides sustained support for authors during the creative process through unique access to the British Library’s unrivalled Americas collections and curatorial expertise.

Previous winners include Olivia Laing, Erica Wagner and Naomi Wood. The 2013 winner, Andrea Wulf, will be speaking on the Eccles Centre Platform at Hay on 1 June about her latest work inspired by her research as an Awardee, The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, The Graphic Novel. On 3 June, the 2018 winner, Tessa McWatt, will speak at the British Library on how her residency inspired her debut novel: Shame On Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging, due to be published in 2019. Tickets can be booked via the the Hay Festival website and British Library website.

Earlier this year, the Eccles Centre announced a new partnership with Hay Festival for the Writer’s Award. The partnership builds on Hay Festival’s growing presence in Latin America and the increasingly international reach of the Award, which, for the first time in 2020, will welcome submissions in Spanish and languages indigenous to the Americas.

Submissions open on 1st June and will close on 16th September at 12.00 BST. The shortlist of applications will be announced in early November, with the winners announced later that month. For more information on eligibility and how to apply, visit

Notes to Editors

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.

The Eccles Centre for American Studies promotes the British Library's North American collections and supports the study of North America in schools and universities. The Centre was founded by David and Mary Eccles in 1991 and is based at the British Library. The Centre works closely with the Library’s curatorial teams to promote awareness of the United States, Canadian and Caribbean collections and offers programmes of financial support for researchers. The Centre also collaborates closely with members of the American, Canadian and Caribbean Studies communities in the UK, and with other partners interested in the advancement of knowledge about North America. It hosts numerous events each year, and its lively and diverse programme includes lectures, discussion panels, conferences, concerts and seminars aimed at academics, university students, school pupils, creatives and the general public.

Hay Festival is a not-for-profit organisation that brings readers and writers together to share stories and ideas in sustainable events around the world. The festivals inspire, examine and entertain, inviting participants to imagine the world as it is and as it might be. 

Nobel Prize-winners and novelists, scientists and politicians, historians and musicians talk with audiences in a dynamic exchange of ideas. The Festival’s global conversation shares the latest thinking in the arts and sciences with curious audiences live, in print and online. Hay Festival also runs wide programmes of education work supporting coming generations of writers and culturally hungry audiences of all ages. 

In 1987, the festival was dreamt up around a kitchen table in Hay. Thirty-two years later, the unique marriage of exacting conversations and entertainment for all ages has travelled to editions in 30 locations, from the historic town of Cartagena in Colombia to the heart of cities in Peru, Mexico, Spain and Denmark. The organisation now reaches a global audience of hundreds of thousands every year and continues to grow and innovate, building partnerships and initiatives alongside some of the leading bodies in arts and the media. / @hayfestival 

Coming up...

•             Hay Festival Querétaro, Mexico (5-8 September 2019)

•             Hay Festival Segovia, Spain (20-22 September 2019)

•             Hay Festival Arequipa, Peru (7-10 November 2019)

•             Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye Winter Weekend, Wales (28 November-1 December 2019)

•             Hay Festival Medellín, Colombia (29-31 January 2020)

•             Hay Festival Cartagena deIndias, Colombia (30 January-2 February 2020)

•             Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye, Wales (21-31 May 2020)

•             Hay Festival Europa28, Croatia (3-5 June 2020)

For more information:

Ash Khan
The British Library
t: +44 (0)20 7412 7105

Evenings and weekends:
+44 (0) 20 7412 7150

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