The Rooker Prize – Lewes Community Football Club

The Rooker Prize

The Rooker Prize

Club news

Written by: Jack

“I met a man at a party.
He said, “I’m writing a novel”
I said “Oh really? Neither am I.”

Peter Cook


The small county town of Lewes in East Sussex is home to many literary revolutionaries, including Thomas Paine, Virginia Woolf and, currently, celebrated poet John Agard.

Lewes FC is nicknamed The Rooks, after the local birds and Lewes castle. It has been 100% community-owned since 2010 when a group of fans saved it from financial ruin by mutualising it.

Since 2010, the club has also celebrated football’s place in modern culture, producing stand-out matchday posters from pastiches of famous album covers (remember those?), film posters and book covers. A few years ago, the club decided against boring Corporate Boxes and instead installed four Beach Huts overlooking the pitch.

So, a literary prize seemed like an obvious next step.

The Rooker Prize began as a hypothetical discussion at the club’s 2021 Christmas party – you know the kind of discission we mean. But it was an idea just too good to not do. So it was that, in 2022, the UK’s most innovative and democratic literary competition was born.

Here is a summary of our party discussion:

Though everyone may have a book in them, most of us are either too busy or lazy to ever try and get it out.

What if I write a whole book and it’s rubbish?

Literary competitions are too daunting for ordinary mortals to enter.

So that’s why entering The Rooker Prize is so damn easy. You just write the opening 250 words of your book. That’s it.

It might be the opening to a novel, a novella, a children’s book or frankly any genre you choose? We just want to encourage and enable as many people as possible to start writing a book, to give it a go.

We democratised football, so now The Rooks are spreading their wings to help to make writing more accessible too.

The Rooker Prize is sponsored by award-winning podcast hosts, successful musicians, writers and actors Gary Kemp & Guy Pratt of The Rockonteurs, as well as publishers Hachette UKwho, like Lewes FC in football, are keen to break new ground and challenge established thinking in publishing.

The Rockonteurs is the UK’s most popular music podcast and as Guy Pratt explains, ‘is all about great stories, like so many great songs’. He adds, ‘I’m also proud to support my brilliant local club in any way’.

The winner of The Rooker Prize receives a beautiful hand-carved wooden trophy plus £250 to go to the charity of their choice. Hachette UK – one of the UK’s leading publishing groups – also offers an incredible and exclusive additional prize.

The winner also receives an hour’s feedback/coaching session at Hachette UK’s offices in London where their entry will be discussed with an experienced Editor, to hopefully help kickstart a new career.

The only condition for entry is that you are an Owner of Lewes Football Club. But that’s easy, as anyone in the world can sign up for their single share right here.

The Rooker Prize will be open again for entries from 1st January 2025.


Enquiries to  with the subject line: ROOKER