Ends on

$25.00 USD

The Black Spring Crime-Writing Prize 2019

Black Spring Press (founded in 1985) is pleased to announce the inaugural Black Spring Crime-Writing Prize to be awarded to the best Crime Fiction novel submitted to us during the year 2019. The prize will guarantee publication of the winning novel within eighteen months of the competition’s closure.

In such a crowded market, we are looking for something fresh, something that makes us think differently and breaks away from the genre’s stereotypes. It’s difficult to quantify. It may be hard-boiled or comical, complicated or a simple whodunit. We will not discriminate against any form of crime novel or thriller. For the purposes of the competition, a novel must constitute a minimum of 50,000 words.

The winning novel will be published in paperback format with the Black Spring imprint, with an advance of $1,000 USD. It will be supported by all means at our disposal: our editors and proof-readers, our sales team and our distributors. 

It doesn’t matter how many rejections you’ve received from other publishers and agents, our judge will read it with fresh eyes.

ANY ONE 18 YEARS OR OLDER MAY ENTER - from any nation. The manuscript must be at least 50% unpublished and entirely the author's own.

The winner will be announced bY the London Book Fair, 2020, where it will be pitched for foreign rights.


This year’s judge will be our very own M. John Penny. After a lifetime spent reading Crime Fiction, his affiliation to a publisher puts him in a special position to admire quality writing and plotting, as well as a sense of what is commercially valuable. Mr Penny will read over every entry.

His Statement

My youth was filled with Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, Carter Dickson and so many more authors from the Golden Age of Crime Fiction. Adulthood brought with it the ability to purchase treasured first editions of many brilliant works. My later years have found enjoyment in an eclectic range, from the Alaskan wilderness of Dana Stabenow to the Scandinavian grit of Jo Nesbo and Henning Mankell. 

Each novel submitted will be read and, wherever possible, feedback given to the author. The winner will be published, not by a vanity press, but by a press whose previous authors have included  Orson Welles, Anais Nin, Patrick Hamilton, Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave.

Note: This competition may be cancelled without prior notice if less than 50 entries are received; and all entry fees will be fully returned. All judging and other contest decisions are binding.