Early-career writers invited to apply for 2024-2025 Harper-Wood Award

Funding up to £18,600 available for winning author or poet

St John’s College, Cambridge is offering emerging authors and poets the chance to turn the pages of their career with the launch of this year’s Harper-Wood Creative Writing and Travel Award for English Poetry and Literature.

Applications open on Wednesday 21 February 2024 for the award, which was established by the College in 1949 to inspire an undertaking of creative writing by making it possible for the holder to engage in relevant, project-related travel and study. 

Held for one year, the award is intended primarily for creative writers in the initial stages of their careers. Applications are encouraged from those whose work has not yet achieved book-length publication, such as a novel, book of short stories, poetry collection or play. The candidate must be a graduate of any university in the UK, Ireland, the Commonwealth or the USA when they take up the post in October 2024.

A person sits at a train station working on their laptop
Image credit: Worawee Meepian/Shutterstock.

The current Harper-Wood Award-holder is Mukahang Limbu from the University of Oxford, who took over from the 2022-2023 award-holder Lucy Thynne in October.

Other past Harper-Wood Award-holders include Thom Gunn, Michael Hofmann, Giles Foden, Amit Chaudhuri, Gaby Wood, Sarah Howe, Isabella Hammad, Erin Soros and Vahni Capildeo.

All or part of the year of tenure should be spent in a country outside the United Kingdom. The award-holder is expected to engage in a course of study or research, not necessarily attached to a university or other institution, leading to the production of original fiction, poetry or drama. 

The successful candidate's tenureship will begin on 1 October 2024. They will be admitted to membership of St John’s and be invited to visit the College at the end of their award year, to give one or more talks about their experience.

Funding will be determined by the College Council in light of the successful candidate’s qualifications and financial circumstances, up to a maximum of £18,600, to cover accommodation and other living expenses. Additional financial assistance is also available for the successful candidate to meet travel costs.

The competition opens on Wednesday 21 February 2024 and closes on Wednesday 24 April 2024 at 4pm.

Further particulars and how to apply


The Harper-Wood Creative Writing and Travel Award

Published 12/2/2024

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