When I was asked to be a judge for the Page Turner Awards, the contest almost sounded too good to be true. The prizes were bigger and more numerous than normal writing contest fare: publishing contracts, audiobook productions, film rights options, and writing mentorships. But after scouring their website and watching the heartwarming video interviews with past winners, I was quickly won over by the organization’s genuine compassion for writers.
The judges are paid in good feelings, so the sole reason I’m passionate about promoting the Page Turner Awards is because it’s such an excellent opportunity for writers to be seen and heard.
The Page Turner Awards features five different categories:
- The Book Award, open to any published books, whether traditionally published or self-published.
- The Writing Award, open to all unpublished and completed manuscripts.
- The Screenplay Award, open to all completed scripts and screenplays.
- The Young Writer Award, open to any writer aged between 18 and 25.
- The Writing Mentorship Award, open to any writer with an unpublished and uncompleted manuscript.
You can enter here — the early-bird discount runs until February 28.
As a judge, the icing on the cake for me was that the founder of the awards, Paula Wynne, said she’d be delighted to have me interview her.
1. What inspired you to create the Page Turner Awards?
After winning The People’s Book Prize for my debut novel The Grotto’s Secret, I started looking for more awards to enter. I found that most highly acclaimed awards were only open to traditionally published books and none were offering prizes that I, as an author and writer, would find highly valuable.
That’s when the seed of the Page Turner Awards germinated in my head. I started putting some thought into what I would like to win if I were to enter such an award. I contacted literary agents to find out their response to my idea and was thrilled with the positive and supportive response. They loved the idea and found it unique to be giving writers a “direct channel” to get their work seen by literary agents and publishers.
To add value, I started sourcing prizes that I would love to win, such as an audiobook production for my novels and a book-to-film consultation. Then, on a whim, I decided to contact a film scout to get someone on board the judging panel who may discover a story that would warrant a film option. Each time a new judge came on board, we grew more and more energized about the prospects of what the Page Turner Awards could do for a writer and published author.
2. What makes this contest different from other writing contests out there?
Page Turner Awards is different! Beyond the life-changing prizes, Page Turner Awards writers have been most impressed with the scope of support offered to them — a rarity in the world of writing awards, which usually offer little beyond a letter confirming your submission. Page Turner Awards offers so much more than a simple prize, but instead has created a supportive writing community and a “movement” focused on author growth and development.
3. What are the top three qualities you see in winning stories?
An intriguing hook that makes the judges read on. Compelling characters also turn pages as the judges want to find out more about them and their situation. Beautiful prose excites judges and they can’t stop reading the ten pages and then want to see the full story.
4. What’s the most surprising entry you’ve ever had?
Not quite the most surprising entry but certainly the most surprising character was Mark Stibbe’s entry A Book in Time because his character is a book who lives through two hundred years, meeting lots of historical real-life characters. His book was rated so highly by the judges it went on to win him literary agency representation, and he won the Writing Fiction Award in 2020.
5. What have you learned from running the Page Turner Awards?
That talented writers can be from any background, age, race, religion, or interest. It’s also not only rich writers who are good writers. Excellent writing comes from a wide variety of backgrounds, and we love finding these gems.
6. How do you coordinate so many entries, judges, and sponsors?
My husband Ken did a great job with this last year juggling so many judging scores! This year will be even more challenging as we have four times as many judges and already hundreds more entries!
7. What advice do you have for writers, whether they’re submitting to the contest or not?
Learn as much as you can about the art of writing. There are lots of writing guides to help you learn writing techniques. It’s been an obsession of mine for many years. So much so that I created a blog about the writing books I’ve read to improve my own writing.