A New Climate Fiction Prize Will Launch At This Year’s Hay Festival

By Charlie Colville

3 weeks ago

The winning author will receive £10,000

As if there weren’t already a plenitude of reasons to pay a visit to Hay Festival this year, the event has just made yet another exciting announcement: the festival will be launching the first ever Climate Fiction Prize. Here’s everything you need to know.

What Is The Climate Fiction Prize?

The Climate Fiction Prize is a new literary award for fiction that engages with the climate crisis. Set to launch at this year’s Hay Festival, the prize will aim to showcase novels that engage with themes concerning the climate crisis – with the hope that it will encourage an expansion of the Cli-Fi genre.

The award was founded by Leo Barasi, author of The Climate Majority, Rose Goddard, executive director at Wimbledon BookFest and former prize manager of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and Imran Khan, former head of public engagement at the Wellcome Trust, now at UC Berkeley. It is being supported by storytelling organisation Climate Spring.

The winner, who will be announced in spring 2025, will also receive £10,000 in prize money.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Hay Festival (@hayfestival)

‘We are thrilled to be supporting the world’s first literary prize for climate fiction, celebrating innovative writers with new stories,’ said Lucy Stone, founder and executive director of Climate Spring. ‘We are in a moment of cultural paralysis where concerns about climate lead to despair not action. Fiction can unlock this paralysis; through storytelling we step into another person’s shoes, or feel empowered by imagining more compelling visions of the future. The climate story isn’t only a story of damage but the transformation and repair of ourselves as much as the environment.’

Who Are The Judges?

The judging panel for the Climate Fiction Prize will be chaired by writer Madeleine Bunting. She will be joined by climate justice activist and writer Tori Tsui, author Nicola Chester and Hay Festival’s sustainability director Andy Fryers.

All of this year’s judges will be at Hay Festival on Sunday 2 June 2024, where they will be appearing in a panel event to launch the prize to the public.

‘Change starts with the imagination and no subject so urgently needs new stories of repair and care than the climate crisis,’ said Bunting. ‘The value of this prize is to recognise new talent and help promote it to a wider audience, provoking debate and stimulating others authors to tackle this vital task of imagining what’s possible.’

When Will The Longlist & Shortlist Be Announced?

The longlist and shortlist are expected to be announced across autumn and winter 2024.

When Will The Winner Of The Climate Fiction Prize Be Announced?

The winner of the first Climate Fiction Prize will be announced in spring 2025.


Submissions for the Climate Fiction Prize will open on Monday 3 June 2024, with full submission details to come.

Featured image: Ioann-Mark Kuznietsov, Unsplash