Next Chapter Award Criteria

Next Chapter Award 2020 Eligibility Criteria

We can only accept one application per writer.

If you have any questions about how the eligibility criteria below applies in your circumstances, please read our Frequently Asked Questions, or email

To apply

  • You must be aged 40 or over at the start of the award year in January 2019. Any offer made by Scottish Book Trust will be conditional on the writer providing proof of age.
  • You must be based in Scotland.
  • The award is open to poets, novelists, short story writers, authors of narrative non-fiction and children’s authors.
  • You must be able to demonstrate a strong commitment to developing a career in writing.
  • Your work must show genuine potential for publication.

Publishing record

  • You must not have published a novel, narrative non-fiction book (e.g. biography or memoir), a collection of short stories or poems.
  • You can apply if all your work has been
    • self-published
    • digitally published
    • published in a pamphlet
    • published as part of an anthology or magazine.
    • published academically (e.g. standard non-fiction, textbook, academic journal).

You are not eligible to apply if:

  • You have already received a Scottish Arts Council New Writers Bursary, New Writers Award, Callan Gordon Award, Next Chapter Award or are in receipt of another award from Scottish Book Trust. However, if you have already applied for a New Writers Award 2019, you are welcome to apply for the Next Chapter Award. Please be aware you can only receive one award. If you are selected for more than one award, you will be asked to choose which programme best suits your needs.
  • You are in receipt of a Creative Scotland Artists’ Bursary, fellowship or residency, or other form of Creative Scotland funding intended for your development as a writer. 
  • You are a writer registered on the Live Literature database. Illustrators and Storytellers who are registered on the database may apply to work on writing if they fulfil the criteria above. Performance poets registered on the database may apply to work on writing if they fulfil the criteria above. 
  • You have a book publishing deal already in place.
  • You wish to focus on plays, screenplays or radioplays.
  • You are on staff at Scottish Book Trust. Contracted Scottish Book Trust staff are not eligible to apply for any writer development opportunity.

Students and formal education

  • You are not eligible to apply if you are in formal education (accredited school, university, PhD and college courses both part-time and full-time and including long-term distance learning courses).
  • If you are currently in formal education, your course must be completely finished by January 2019 (e.g. no coursework, exams or classes remaining).
  • If you are taking part in summer schools, evening classes, other short-term classes or community education classes you may apply.
  • If you accept a place on a formal education course while your application is being considered or during the award period you will no longer be eligible to take up a place on the programme. You may be asked to return the award or withdraw your application.

By submitting your application, you're confirming you meet the criteria to the best of your knowledge. Anyone who doesn't meet the criteria will be deemed ineligible.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please email These will be considered before the next round of applications. 

A decision on the successful writer will be made by a selection panel. The panel will assess all applications, shortlist writers and decide upon the recipient of the opportunity. All decisions concerning eligibility made by Scottish Book Trust and our appointed panel will be final.

If you have any questions please contact