Criminal Lines

Criminal Lines

Please read the Rules and Eligibility sections carefully before entering the competition. Entry implies acceptance of all the rules and failure to comply may result in disqualification.

How to enter

Please submit your material via our submission form: Criminal Lines 2023


The Criminal Lines Award is open to writers aged 18 and over born or living in Britain (including the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) and Ireland (Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland).

Entry information

  • Entries should not have been published or accepted for publication elsewhere, in print or online, by a mainstream or an independent publisher.
  • You must not be represented by a literary agent at the time of submission or at the shortlist stage. If you receive an offer of representation while your novel is under consideration, you must inform us immediately. If you would like to accept this offer, you must withdraw from the competition.
  • Entrants must not have previously published a novel or novella although self-published novels, novellas and self-published e-books are accepted. ‘Published’  means work published in print or online, that has been selected or commissioned via an independent editorial process that does not involve the author of the work in question.
  • Entrants who have had other types of books traditionally published e.g. poetry, memoir or non-fiction are eligible.
  • Entrants may only make one submission to the prize.
  • If the work is submitted for another prize and has been shortlisted, you must inform us immediately.
  • Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant, and not written in conjunction with any form of AI, and by submitting you are confirming the work is your own. Any evidence to the contrary will result in disqualification. 
  • Simultaneous submissions to other prizes are allowed but will become ineligible should they be published, receive notification of future publication, or if you receive an offer of agent representation while the competition is still being judged. You must inform us immediately should your entry be published or win a prize elsewhere.
  • Translations into English are eligible provided the source text is the entrant’s own original work and has not been previously published.
  • Authors with work published abroad in other languages are eligible provided this is their English language debut.
  • Entries submitted posthumously are not eligible.


  • Please check you are submitting the correct version of your work before uploading as mistakes cannot be rectified later.


You can view in depth answers to frequently asked questions on our Entry FAQs page


We disqualify entries if they do not conform to any element of the entry criteria. Please read the entry information carefully, and refer to the FAQs.


5,000 words max, taken from the opening chapter/s (and including any prologues) and a 1,000 word synopsis. (Please note, the 1,000 word limit for the Synopsis is in addition to the 5,000 words.)


The synopsis should be 1000 words maximum. Begin with a brief summary paragraph, followed by the rest of the synopsis. The 1000 word limit is for the entire synopsis.  

Entries must be submitted online. No email or postal submissions.


Entries should be saved and attached as Microsoft Word documents (.doc or .docx), double spaced, Times New Roman 12pt. Entries must be in English

  • Do not add cover or title pages
  • Do not send illustrated work
  • No handwritten submissions


The judges’ decision is final and no individual correspondence can be entered into. Judges are unable to comment on individual entries. Criminal Lines reserves the right to change the judges without notice.


Worldwide copyright remains with the author.

Criminal Lines reserves the right to amend these rules where it deems necessary. Any changes to the rules will be posted on the Criminal Lines page on the A.M.Heath website.

Results & Awards

The winner, runner-up and shortlist will be revealed in the March issue of Crime Monthly. 

The winner will receive a cash prize of £3,500 and an offer of representation from A.M.Heath.

The runner-up will receive twelve months of mentoring from Orion.


If you have a query about eligibility, please contact