Creative Writing Award History

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award is celebrating 15 years of supporting outstanding writers. The Award was launched after the publication of Aesthetica Magazine, as a way to support the next generation of literary talent. Including both established and emerging practitioners to submit pieces on any theme, celebrating innovative poetry and short fiction. These were published in the Creative Works Annual. This publication was an anthology of new writing and new artwork, but as the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award and the Art Prize started to reach more audiences, the decision was made in 2013 to separate them into two Awards with their own prizes and publications.

In 2013, the Award evolved into a standalone publication and Prize. It was important to us to be able to give the writers a prominent platform and to further access to literary agents. The Short Fiction and Poetry winners have gone to achieve widespread acclaim, including nominations for the T. S. Eliot Prize and Forward Prize. The prize attracts thousands of entries each year from across the world and is an outstanding resource to discover the best new voices in creative writing. The judging panel includes leading figures from the publishing world, and by entering, you can showcase to key industry figures and organisations including The Poetry Society, Granta, VINTAGE and more.

What We’re Looking For

The Creative Writing Award is open to Poetry and Short Fiction submissions on any theme, however, we are particularly interested in works that reflect upon our ever changing world.

Previous anthologies have harnessed the power of language to explore an age of unprecedented change and uncertainty. They have expressed complex emotions – telling personal and global stories. Our 2021 shortlisted works connected readers to a profound sense of self as well as their shared humanity: friendships, fairytales and romantic relationships told in new ways.

We are looking for pieces that challenge us – that redefine the parameters of form, concept and technique. Winning pieces have reflected upon both social and political structures, human relationships and experiences. They have pushed the boundaries of imagination – providing new possibilities and ideas. To find out more about our shortlist, view our Success Stories here.


Winners Receive:

  • £5,000 prize money
    (£2,500 for the Poetry Winner, £2,500 for the Short Fiction Winner)
  • Publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual
  • Full membership to The Poetry Society (Poetry Winner)
  • Consultation with Redhammer Management (Fiction Winner)
  • 12-month subscription to Litopia (Fiction & Poetry Winner)
  • One full poetry course courtesy of Poetry School (subject and dates TBC)
  • Five-day course courtesy of Arvon (Fiction & Poetry Winner)

Shortlist (20 Fiction, 40 Poetry) Receives:

  • Publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual
  • Online Listing
  • Inclusion in Aesthetica press materials

Aesthetica is proud to champion new writing talent and supports its writing alumni beyond the Prize, offering print and digital publicity and continued exposure across our channels. For guidelines and to submit, click here.

1. Kevin Krautgartner, from the series Reduced to the Max. Courtesy of the artist.
2. Ben Thomas, Tip, 2016. London.