Submissions open for £20k Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer's Award

The Eccles Centre at the British Library and Hay Festival are delighted to open the call for submissions for the 2022 Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer’s Award. Now in its tenth year, the prize grants £20,000 annually to two writers – of fiction and/or non-fiction - for a yet-to-be-published book relating to the Americas (North, Central and South America and the Caribbean).

Applicants are expected to make extensive use of the British Library’s Americas collections and curatorial support via a one-year research residency to develop their idea. In addition, winners will receive £20,000 in four quarterly grants and special access to the Eccles Centre Platform at Hay Festival events in Wales, Mexico, Peru and Colombia, as well as the events programme at the British Library, to promote their published work.

A number of critically acclaimed books have been published with the support of the Eccles Centre and Hay Festival Writer’s Award including Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone and The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the Lost Hero of Science by Andrea Wulf.

The 2021 Award holders are Pola Oloixarac and Imaobong Umoren, who since November have been working with the Eccles Centre and British Library curators to develop their forthcoming books, Literary Atlas of the Amazon and Empire Without End. They will be participating in events at the British Library in 2021 and beyond.

At this year’s digital Hay Festival, former Writer’s Award holder Erica Wagner will be joined by Dr Xerxes Mazda, newly appointed Head of Collections and Curation at the British Library, Louise Siddons and Charles Saumarez Smith to discuss how a year of closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the role of galleries, archives, libraries and museums. Register for free here.

Submissions for the 2022 Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer’s Award open on 4 May and will close on 16 September at 12:00 BST with the shortlist announced in autumn 2021. For more information on eligibility and how to apply, visit

The Eccles Centre 2021 Visiting Fellows have recently been announced. For more information on the Eccles Centre Fellowships, visit