Pitch Prize 2021 Winners Announcement













BPA Pitch Prize

2021 Pitch Prize Winners

We are thrilled to reveal the winners of the BPA Pitch Prize 2021. The standard of submissions was incredibly high with some brilliant titles, striking prose, and memorable pitches, and it was difficult to make the final selection. The ten winners will receive a one-on-one with our judge, literary agent Joanna Swainson, a chance to…

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The BPA Pitch Prize 2021

Now in its third year, the Pitch Prize is a competition for un-agented writers looking for representation for a work of fiction.

Judge: Joanna Swainson, literary agent at Hardman & Swainson

Prize: For up to seven writers

Pitch your novel to Joanna Swainson. Receive editorial feedback and recommendations. Industry insights and advice on next steps.

The team at Blue Pencil Agency will oversee all submissions.

Entries: We accept submissions of the first 500 words, a 300 word synopsis and cover letter. You need to have written at least the first 10,000 words of the novel although we only require the first 500 words.

For tips and advice on what Joanna is looking for, join her live Q & A on zoom October 26 from 6.00 – 7.30 pm. Book here or go to our online events page for more details.


Submission Deadline: November 14, 2021

Winners Announcement: January 2022

The winners will be notified by email and announced on our website

One on one meetings with Joanna in person or zoom:  January/February 2022

Entry fee: £10 for each submission. Online entry only


Reading and judging are underway

From PayPal, you will be redirected to the submission form.

Before entering, please ensure to familiarise yourself with the Rules, Terms and Conditions, and Privacy Policies. Entering the BPA Pitch Prize is taken as your full agreement.

What we’re looking for:

• any genre with the exception of children’s fiction and non-fiction. YA is permitted provided there is an adult crossover.
• a strong voice.
• the makings of an original and compelling story.
• an attention grabbing first paragraph.


  • Authors must be over 18 years old at the time of entry.
  • The Prize is open to unrepresented authors of fiction at the closing date of November 14, 2021.
  • Clients of BPA who have had full manuscript reviews are not eligible to enter however those who have been to a retreat or workshop are still eligible providing they did not follow up with an editorial service.
  • Writers must advise the organisers if they accept representation during the judging period.
  • Published authors are accepted as long as they don’t have an agent.
  • The first 10,000 words must have been completed at the closing date of November 14, 2021.
  • Entrants may submit more than one pitch but as separate entries.
  • Entries must be written in English.
  • Entries can only be submitted electronically via this site and payment made via PayPal.
  • Entrants may withdraw entries but fees cannot be refunded.
  • Judge’s decision is final. Judge is unable to comment on individual entries.
  • Copyright remains with the author, however we reserve the right to publish extracts of up to 300 words on our website as well as the opening lines on Twitter.
  • By submitting, entrants are agreeing for BPA to keep a record of their email address for marketing purposes only. This information will not be shared with third parties. Entrants can unsubscribe from all communication at any time.

How to submit

  • Please enter through the link on our website (from PayPal, you will be redirected to the submission form).
  • Upload your first 500 words plus a 300 word synopsis and a covering letter with some brief information about yourself/your career as a writer.
  • Please ensure that the file name is the title of the story.
  • Entries must be in either a doc., docx, or pdf. No other formats will be accepted.
  • Entries must be double spaced in a clear font (Times New Roman or similar) and pages numbered.
  • The novel’s title must be on every page but your name should not appear anywhere on the story.
  • The covering letter should include the following details: your name, the title of your novel, your email address and telephone number, a brief CV or publication history and the genre of your novel if applicable (e.g. uplit, romance, contemporary, historical, psychological thriller, fantasy, crime, women’s, literary)
  • Go to the Shop page and click on the paypal button to pay the fee.
  • If payment is made using a different name, it is essential you include that name in the email you send with the story.

Assistance to writers on low incomes or from under-represented backgrounds

This year we are offering up to 10 free entries for UK based writers on low incomes or from communities currently under-represented in publishing.

If there are more than ten applications the most promising ten submissions will be selected by the BPA team.

Please click here to Contact BPA with your application and, if relevant, proof of financial eligibility such as: Jobseeker’s Allowance; Disability Benefit; Income Support; Working Tax Credit; Child Tax Credit; proof of being a full-time student; Housing Benefit; proof of being a full-time carer.

All details will be kept confidential.

BPA Pitch Prize

2021 Pitch Prize Judge


Joanna Swainson 

Joanna is co-founder of literary agency Hardman & Swainson. She represents a range of authors, particularly across the genres of crime and thriller, speculative, historical, accessible literary and book group fiction. She also represents narrative non-fiction writers, and is particularly keen on science, history, nature, folklore and memoir. She doesn’t like to be too prescriptive in what she’s looking for when reading submissions, but a strong hook, intriguing characters and great writing with surprising insights and observations will always grab her attention. Atmosphere also plays an important part in any book she enjoys.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I’m a winner and I can’t get to London can I still meet Joanna?

Yes, she is happy to meet you on zoom or skype.

Will I get representation with Joanna?

Not necessarily. The Prize offers a chance to pitch your story and get editorial feedback and industry insights. There is no obligation for Joanna to take on any of the winners, although she might invite you to submit directly to her once the novel is finished.

I’ve had a novel published, am I still eligible to enter?

Yes, as long as you don’t have an agent.

I’ve only just started writing the novel, can I still enter?

Yes, as long as you’ve written the first 10,000 words and you have a clear synopsis so you know where the story is heading.

I’m away for the whole of February, if I’m a winner can the meeting take place another time?

The one on one sessions will be arranged at a mutually convenient time during February 2020 and can take place on zoom or by skype if not in person. It is unlikely that Joanna will be able to commit outside of this timeframe.

I’ve got several ideas. Can I pitch them all?

You may submit more than one entry but they need to be submitted and paid for individually.