The Caledonia Novel Award

Who We Are

Welcome to the Caledonia Novel Award 2025! We are an Edinburgh-based, international writing competition for unpublished and self-published novelists, in all genres for adults and YA.

Our mission is to discover, encourage and celebrate new writers from all backgrounds and walks of life, and to inspire them and give them the confidence to put their work out into the world.

There is nothing quite like the thrill of discovering something absolutely magical and totally unexpected amongst the competition entries, and it is so exciting for us to give these future authors the opportunity to get their work in front of exceptional literary agents!

The Caledonia Novel Award 2025

Open to entries: 15 May - midnight GMT 15 October, 2024

Judge: Alice Lutyens, literary agent at Curtis Brown

Top prize: £1,500 and an exclusive framed award designed by Edinburgh artist Lucy Roscoe 

Highly Commended prize: £500

Special prize: a free place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre for the best novel from the UK and Ireland

How to enter: all details can be found on our Rules & Entry page

The Caledonia Novel Award 2024 Judge

Alice Lutyens

We’re thrilled to introduce our Caledonia Novel Award 2025 judge Alice Lutyens, literary agent at Curtis Brown.

Meet Alice here, and discover what she’s hoping to find amongst this year’s entries!
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Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre

Here at the Caledonia Novel Award, we are very keen to nurture undiscovered talent and encourage new writers. With this in mind, we are excited to announce that, for the eighth year running, we are offering a special prize for the best novel submitted by an author from the UK and Ireland. This prize is a free place on a residential or online writing course or retreat at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre, situated in the Scottish Highlands, just 14 miles from Inverness.
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2022 Winner of the Moniack Mhor 
writing Retreat Prize

Alex Hay

Alex grew up in Cambridge and Cardiff and has been writing since childhood. He studied History at the University of York, and wrote his dissertation on female power at the early Tudor court, spending many happy hours combing the archives to find evidence of power-brokering and political manoeuvring otherwise overlooked. He has worked in magazine publishing and the charity sector, writing in the evenings and at weekends, and in 2016 he completed Curtis Brown Creative’s Three Month Novel Writing Course. He is 34 and lives with his husband near Crystal Palace in South East London.

“I started writing The Housekeepers in autumn 2020, just before the UK descended into the second lockdown, and so really I was looking to escape from reality! I’d been looking to write a novel about the Edwardians, and possession, and I’d been itching to try a heist plot, inspired by films like Ocean’s Eleven and American Hustle. When I realised I could pull those threads together, the story started to take shape. A glittering mansion on Park Lane. A group of servants, denied their dreams. And my protagonist, Mrs King, a housekeeper with a difference. Raised by petty criminals, armed with ruthless intelligence — and an audacious plan to transform her life. Immersing myself in her world was a joy. The Edwardians might seem stiff, even quaint, to us. But poring over street photography and magazine features from the 1900s, you can encounter the most brilliant flashes of modernity. People taking the tube, driving new cars, inventing new technologies and new ways to make money. I got hooked on this glamorous, seedy, electric world. And building the plot allowed me to layer in all the things I love most in books – ambition, obsession, troubled families, big houses. Writing it has been an absolute delight.”
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