Every year, the Irish Writers Centre introduces twelve aspiring novelists to top publishers and literary agents. Over two days, Novel Fair gives writers the opportunity to pitch their novels, bypass the slush pile, and place their manuscripts directly into the hands of industry professionals.

Last week, we opened our doors to the Novel Fair cohort of 2024. It did not disappoint! Taking place over two days, the Fair occurred inside our beautiful Parnell Square location (Dublin) on Friday, while the Saturday happened online to give writers the opportunity to meet industry professionals from further afield.

On Friday, the atmosphere inside the Irish Writers Centre was electric. The room was full of the sound of 12 aspiring novelists pitching their exciting projects. Novel Fair winner, Ali McGuire told us “this was my first time at IWC, and I take with me wonderful memories of the people I met and the promising conversations we had.”

This year, our 12 Novel Fair winners met with many publishers and agents. On Friday, we had representatives from the following publishing houses and agencies: Bonnier Books, The Book Bureau Literary Agency, The Nagle Agency, Hachette Ireland, Lilliput Press, The Lisa Richards Agency, Marianne Gunn O’Conor, Penguin Random House, Storyline Lit Agency and United Talent. While on Saturday, we had representatives from The Bent Agency, époque, The Feldstein Agency, Greene & Heaton and Hodder.

Since its inception in 2011, 37 Novel Fair winners have gone on to secure publishing deals for their debut novels as a direct result of the Novel Fair. Although the prospect of pitching your novel might be a daunting experience for some, Novel Fair winner Jennifer Lynn says “Novel Fair has been one of the happiest moments of my life.” The team at the Irish Writers Centre had a wonderful time hosting the Fair this year, and we look forward to receiving promising updates from our winners!

“Wow! What an intense experience the Novel Fair was! Two things in particular have stayed with me. 
The camaraderie with the other winners was fantastic and then, during the two days, it was so interesting to pitch the novel multiple times, exploring what chimed, learning what didn’t, hopefully improving.” – Novel Fair winner, Dominic Stevens.

“Taking part in Novel Fair was a wonderful opportunity. Despite the initial nerves, I found it a thoroughly enjoyable experience to discuss my book with so many interested and enthusiastic agents and publishers. The support of the Irish Writers’ Centre staff and the other eleven winners was invaluable and I feel very lucky to be a member of a fantastic cheer leading squad now.” Novel Fair Winner, Sinéad Ingoldsby

Read more about the Novel Fair winners here.

See below a selections of photos taken by Ger Holland on the first day of Novel Fair 2024 at the Irish Writers Centre (Dublin). 


Novel Fair 2024 winners (excluding Maria Saba who joined online). From top left to bottom right: John O’Donnell, Juliet Faithfull, Mia Döring, JM O’Brien, Dominic Stevens, Jennifer Lynn, Ali McGuire, Sinéad Ingoldsby, Edie May Hand, Mags McLoughlin and Caitriona Mullan.


Novel Fair at the Irish Writers Centre (Friday 16 February 2024)


Hachette representative, Ciara Considine (Friday 16 February 2024)


Novel Fair at the Irish Writers Centre (Friday 16 February 2024)


Novel Fair winner, Dominic Stevens meets with Lilliput representative, Sean Farrell (Friday 16 February 2024)


Novel Fair winner, Ali McGuire (Friday 16 February 2024)


Literary agent, Conor Nagle (Friday 16 February 2024)


Novel Fair winner, John O’Donnell meets with Penguin Random House representative Patricia Deevy (Friday 16 February 2024)


Silhouette of Novel Fair winners at the Irish Writers Centre (Friday 16 February 2024)


About the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair

The Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair, now in its thirteenth year, is an annual competition that introduces twelve up-and-coming writers to top publishers and literary agents, giving aspiring novelists the opportunity to bypass the slush pile, pitch their ideas and place their synopsis and sample chapters directly into the hands of industry professionals.

Submissions to Novel Fair 2025 will be open throughout the month of September 2024 and will require applicants to submit a 10,000-word extract of the novel, as well as a 300 word plot synopsis. Entries are welcome from anywhere in the world. The twelve successful applicants will be informed in December – giving them a week to submit their full 50,000 word manuscripts – and will be given the opportunity to attend a day-long ‘How to Pitch Your Novel’ seminar in advance of the Fair itself, which will take place in spring 2025.

If you’d like to find out more about Novel Fair, or attend the Fair next year as a publisher or agent, please get in contact via email: novelfair@irishwriterscentre.ie.