Creative Writing Award History

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award celebrates outstanding writers. The Award was launched after the publication of Aesthetica Magazine, as a way to support the next generation of literary talent. These were first published in the Creative Works Annual, a collection celebrating innovative poetry and short fiction from both established and emerging practitioners. Originally, it was an anthology of new writing and new artwork. However, 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. Aesthetica is part of the UNESCO City of Media Arts network.

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 2022 shortlisted works connect 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.

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