The Primadonna Prize

Coming soon...

The Primadonna Prize is for unsigned and unrepresented new writing talent. It was established to open up access to the publishing industry, and is judged anonymously and without regard to grammar or spelling: a first for a literary prize.

Coming soon! Details of next year’s Primadonna Prize will be revealed in January, including an incredible new prize for the winning author. Keep watching our socials and checking back here for details…

For full terms and conditions, click here.

We’re partnering with the University of Suffolk to launch our ‘Firsts’ writing competition for secondary-school children in East Anglia. 


Meet this year’s judges

Shona Abhyankar

Shona Abhyankar is an award-winning book publicist and one of the Primadonna founding members. She is associate director at ed public relations, a boutique PR agency who specialise in fiction and non-fiction book campaigns, as well as publishing awards and events. Shona’s former roles include Head of Publicity at Penguin Random House and PR Lead for Amazon Publishing UK. She is a mentor for the Publishers Publicity Circle (PPC) and has won PPC awards for her work. Shona’s previous authors include Arianna Huffington, Abi Morgan and Sheryl Sandberg. Find her on Twitter @PublicityShona and on Instagram @shonaandotherstories.


Andi Osho

Actor and writer Andi Osho’s screen credits include Holby City, EastEnders, Death In Paradise, I May Destroy You and Line of Duty. Her formidable writing career includes credits for print, radio, film and TV for broadcasters such as Fox, BBC and Sky. Her debut novel, Asking For A Friend, was published earlier in 2021 and was soon to be followed by her second piece of romantic fiction, Tough Crowd. She would also beat you hands down in a quiz.

Elissa Soave

Elissa Soave is a Scottish writer. She won the inaugural Primadonna Prize in 2019 and her first novel, 'Ginger and Me' is published by HQ in July 2022.

Alice Lutyens

Alice Lutyens is a Books and Audio agent at Curtis Brown where she sells the audio rights and projects on behalf of the agency's list. Alongside this, Alice also represents a varied and eclectic literary list of her own where she passionately and persistently advocates on behalf of her authors.

Alice joined Curtis Brown as an assistant and progressed to launch and develop the audio side of their business before becoming a books agent. In the early days of her career, when she thought she would be an assistant for the rest of her life, she applied for other jobs but was rejected because of fears that her deafness would get in the way of her ability to do the job.

Alice has now worked at Curtis Brown for fifteen years. In that time, she has developed her skills, progressed in the company and had three children.

Claire Malcolm

Claire Malcolm is the founder and Chief Executive of New Writing North. She is currently developing the plans for a new flagship Centre for Writing in Newcastle upon Tyne and is part of the team that launched an MA in Publishing with Hachette UK and Northumbria University. She is passionate about working in partnership across sectors and new ways of working and investing in culture and the creative industries.

Lisa Milton

Lisa Milton is Executive Publisher HQ Stories as well as sitting on the Exec Committee of HarperCollinsUK. She joined HarperCollins in 2015 after a decade as Managing Director of Orion Publishing where she was responsible for Orion, Orion Children’s, Gollancz and Weidenfeld & Nicolson, which was awarded Imprint of the Year at the 2015 Bookseller Industry Awards. Whilst there she published major bestsellers and award winning authors including Maeve Binchy, Ian Rankin, Gillian Flynn and Malala Yousafzai. Previously Lisa was Editorial Director at BCA, the UK’s biggest book club, and prior to this she had a successful career at Waterstones, where one of her most notable achievements was opening the flagship store in Piccadilly and winning the Bookshop of the Year Industry Award in 2000. Find her on Twitter @MsLisaMilton