Big Issue Vendor

Win a two-book publishing deal in our hunt for the next great crime writer

The Big Issue has joined forces with Avon, HarperCollins to find Britain's next great crime writer. Launching on 4 March, the competition will be accepting submissions from across the UK and the winner will receive a two-book deal with the HarperCollins division

Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Georges Simenon, Val McDermid, Ian Rankin – the roll call of great crime writers is long. But the biggest names and the biggest reputations are about to be joined by a new star – YOU!

This week we launch the search for Britain’s undiscovered crime writer. Working with Avon, part of the HarperCollins publishing house, The Big Issue is offering a two-book deal to the author who is made of the write stuff, but just hasn’t had the break yet.

Your book may be complete, or close to complete. You might have the best new idea in the world, you  just don’t know the people in the industry or whose door to knock.

That’s where we come in. The time is now.

“We’re delighted to announce the launch of this competition,” says editor of The Big Issue Paul McNamee. “What an opportunity this presents. Everybody is said to have a book in them but people frequently don’t know how to get their great ideas to the right people and into print. So, here we are. Working with such a legendary publishing house is a way to make somebody’s dream become reality. 

“The Big Issue readers are smart, brilliant people and I suspect this opportunity will see a lot of them take the chance to send us their books. We’ve assembled a terrific panel to help uncover Britain’s best new, as yet undiscovered, crime writer.

At The Big Issue we believe in a hand up. We’re extending it again.

Helen Huthwaite, publishing director at Avon, says: “It is with great excitement that we launch the search for the UK’s next big crime writer, and we couldn’t wish for a better publication to do this with than The Big Issue. With the help of some of the best talent in the business, we will be scouring the length and breadth of the country for an author who can deliver heart-stopping writing and nail-shredding suspense. This is a life-changing prize for one talented winner, and we can’t wait to see what the entries have in store for us.”

The judging panel includes Jane Graham, books editor at The Big Issue, Julia Silk, agent at Kingsford Campbell, Sunday Times best-selling author of The Teacher Katerina Diamond, and editor and author MJ Ford, who launched his debut crime novel Hold My Hand with Avon last year.

Time to get busy!

Submissions will be open from March-May 2019, with a shortlist being announced in September and the winner’s announcement to follow in October. The books will then be scheduled for publication in 2020 and onwards. All terms and conditions can be found on or

Need some inspiration? Check out what Jane Graham looks for in great writing over in our book reviews section