2023 First Chapter Shortlist

We have been blown away by the quality of novel openings we’ve received this year and it has been really hard to choose just ten chapters from the longlist.

But we have now reached our decision and these ten first chapters are with our judge – literary agent, Rachel Mann, at the Jo Unwin Literary Agency. She will pick our first and second prize winners and also give short feedback on the eight other shortlisted chapters in the blog where we announce the results.

Well done to everyone who made the longlist and congratulations to the writers of the novels that have made it through to the shortlist.


  1. Angeline and the Fighters
  2. Bitter Seed
  3. Curtain Call
  4. Monkshood Farm
  5. Soul Cake
  6. The Quiet Years
  7. The Unseen
  8. The Warm-Up Man
  9. The Weight of Silence
  10. Woven from Whispers

We’ll be back with the winners as soon as we can.

In the meantime, you can win a manuscript assessment in our Opening Lines Competition, which closes on 26th March. Get info here.