Goldfinch Books has announced three literary competitions to coincide with the Alton Arts Festival.

The Goldfinch Novel Award 2024 is a prize for emerging authors (aged 16-plus) with completed young adult or adult novels. This competition will be open to authors nationwide, and will have a prize of £300 for the winning novel, chosen by Kiya Evans, associate literary agent at Mushens Entertainment.

The Goldfinch Young Writer Award 2024 is a competition for writers aged between 12 to 16 for chapter books of 3,000-plus words. This competition is for local writers only and the winner will be awarded £100 book tokens and an invitation to join a Goldfinch Books creative writing course. 

The Goldfinch Mini Writers Award 2024 is open to children under the age of 12. Entrants are invited to submit 500 to 1,000 words of their book, which need not be complete. The winner will receive a £50 book token and an invitation to join a Goldfinch Books creative writing course. 

“The festival seemed the perfect time to launch a writing competition, which we’ve been thinking about since before we even opened the shop,” said Gary, who owns the popular bookshop with his wife, Jude, and sister-in-law, Andrea. 

“Writing competitions give authors something to work towards, and an opportunity to have their work recognised.

“We’re so thrilled that Kiya has agreed to judge the novel award. Her agency works with multiple Sunday Times and New York Times bestsellers and she’s actively building her list of authors, so it is a great opportunity for budding writers to get their work in front of an influential agent. It’s all very exciting and we can’t wait to start reading.”

Kiya said: “I am thrilled to be judging the Goldfinch Novel Award, especially in its inaugural year! I love nothing more than an independent bookshop, and am so excited to team up with Goldfinch Books and Alton Arts Festival to discover an abundance of exciting new talent.”

All competitions open for entries on January 19 and full details can be found at

The closing date for entries is May 15. Long-listees for the Goldfinch Novel Award will then be invited to submit their complete manuscripts in time for shortlisting in June. Winners of all contests are to be announced on the closing date of the festival – July 14, 2024.