The Watson, Little Prize

The 2021 Winner of the Watson, Little Prize has been announced! See details here.

In celebration of the agency’s 50th anniversary, Watson, Little Ltd is delighted to announce the launch of the Watson, Little Prize.  The prize is international, genre-specific, and in this inaugural edition of the prize – in celebration of the agency’s 50th year – it is dedicated to writers over fifty years of age. It aims to encourage those from older generations, from all backgrounds and from all nations and cultures, to apply.

The prize is open to writers in the English language from all around the world. One of the outcomes of the pandemic has been an increased use of different technologies, including internet calls and video conferencing for meetings. It means that literary agents are more able to effectively represent writers who are based in countries across the world, and the Watson, Little Prize is designed with that in mind.

The prize is also genre-specific. The 2021 prize will focus on upmarket fiction, with future editions of the prize likely to focus on different genres.

‘Upmarket fiction’ is a broad category, encompassing different time periods (historical or contemporary) and often elements from other genres (crime or romance or speculative, etc). We would love to see applications that fit this category (with due thanks to for this excellent definition):

‘Upmarket fiction’ is a subgenre of fiction books that incorporates elements of page-turning mainstream fiction, while still showcasing the more nuanced prose and complex character development more often found in literary fiction.’


In recognition of the agency’s 50th anniversary, the inaugural 2021 prize is open specifically to those over 50 years of age. We welcome writers in this demographic from all backgrounds, and recognise that age is no barrier when it comes to writing brilliant fiction.

The 2021 prize is open to unagented writers who were 50 years of age or older on the 9 February 2021. Entrants will be invited to send a 500 word plot outline and 5,000 words taken from the beginning of an unpublished novel in the English language belonging to the upmarket fiction genre. Applications for the 2021 prize will open on 5 July 2021 and close on 30 July 2021. There is no application fee.

Longlistees will be notified at the end of August 2021, and will be invited to send a further 5,000 words from the submitted novel (these should be subsequent to the initial 5,000 word extract) for consideration by Watson, Little staff for the purposes of deciding the prize winner. Applicants should be prepared to submit this further extract at the end of August. Deadline for submission of further extract will be 5 September in order to be considered on the longlist.

The winner of the Watson, Little Prize will receive a personalised mentorship, including two digital advice sessions encompassing personalised editorial feedback on the submitted material from Watson, Little staff, as well as guidance on aspects of publishing and literary representation.

Longlistees will be invited to a panel event covering all aspects of publishing, and will receive editorial feedback on their submitted material.

The prize does not guarantee representation for the winner or for longlisted applicants. Offers of representation will be entirely at the discretion of Watson, Little Ltd.



To enter the Watson, Little Prize, you will need to submit a 500-word plot outline and 5,000 words taken from the beginning of the novel.

Material (the outline and extract) should be submitted together in one Word document, in a clear and easy to read font, size 12. Please include, in the body of the email, a short personal statement (including place of residence, writing credentials and any relevant information) with the plot outline and extract attached. Filenames and title pages should include the applicant’s name and the title of the novel.

The entry must be in the upmarket fiction genre and must be previously unpublished (including self-published) and the entry must be written in the English Language.

Entrants are permitted only one entry each and entries on behalf of another person will be not accepted. Joint submissions are permitted but should be sent only once on behalf of both authors, subject to both authors consenting to entering and being eligible.

Entries should be sent to between July 5th and July 30th 2021 (with the deadline closing at midnight, UK time, on July 30th) and all entries will be read by Watson, Little staff. A longlist will be selected, and successful longlistees will be notified and invited to send an additional 5,000 words. The winner, and any highly commended authors, will be announced in September 2021. The winner and full longlist will be publicly announced simultaneously.

Your entry must be your own original work and must not violate the copyright or other rights of any third party. Entrants must comply with these terms and conditions to be eligible. If there is any reason to believe that there has been a breach of these terms and conditions, Watson, Little Ltd may, at their sole discretion, reserve the right to exclude you from participating in the competition.

Please note, there is no application fee.


–           Entrants must be over the age of 50 as of February 9th 2021

–           Entrants can live anywhere in the World, and we encourage entrants from all backgrounds.

–           Entries must be written in the English Language.

–           Entrants must not be signed with a literary agent at the time of application, and we would be grateful if you could update us if you receive an offer of representation during the period of assessment of the prize.


Watson, Little Ltd adheres to the principles of GDPR, and the data you give as part of the application to the Watson, Little Prize will be used solely for the purposes of the Prize itself, unless you give permission otherwise. Our privacy notice can be found here.