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The Claymore Award
The Claymore Award -
Sponsored by Killer Nashville


Korey Kaul"I had received numerous rejections on Jury Rig and had, in effect, moved on and started writing the next book. A writing partner then told me about the Claymore competition. I ended up being a finalist, which got the book in front of a Five Star acquisitions editor. Five Star eventually purchased the rights. It is possible that the book would eventually have been published somewhere, but it would have been much further down the road and almost certainly not with Five Star. In short, the Claymore is largely responsible for Jury Rig being published at this time."

KOREY KAUL, author of Jury Rig


Jonathan Stone"An update for you on AGAIN (retitled MOVING DAY as a book – and WRONG MOVE for film). My agent Jill (whom I met through Killer Nashville and winning the Claymore Award) and her rights co-agent Andrea sent it to their Hollywood co-agent, who loved it, and next thing I know, he has five big production companies (Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment; Dan Lin, producer of the Sherlock Holmes movies, etc.) all taking it in to their respective studios – Sony, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, etc. etc.) Then some folks we never even sent it to swooped in, made us an offer, and now have the rights - a team of two production companies – Nick Wechsler Productions (The Road, Time Traveler's Wife, Magic Mike) and Steve Schwartz at Chockstone Pictures (The Host, Killing Them Softly, Tree of Life, etc.). Of course, a publisher made an offer two hours after the movie option deal – the tail wagged the dog! And it all got started thanks to a writing contest in Nashville!"

- JONATHAN STONE, author of Again (Moving Day)


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The Prestigious Claymore Award




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What You Win

Over $1,500 in prizes, plus possible book advance and book publication, plus possible agent representation

What Manuscripts Will be Considered

Judges will consider any subgenre of mystery or thriller. Enter the first 50 pages of any unpublished literature in the following genres:

Action Drama Literary Spy
Adventure Dystopian Middle Grade Steampunk
Children’s Erotica Mystery Suspense
Comedy Faith Based Paranormal Thriller
Cozy Fantasy Police procedural Urban Fantasy
Crime Gangster Political thriller Western
CSI Historical Private eye Women’s Fiction
Dark Fantasy Horror Romantic Suspense Young Adult (YA)
Detective Legal Science Fiction (Sci-Fi)  

What It Must Have

The story must have a mystery, thriller, or suspense element: a crime must have been committed that needs detecting, a crime is about to be (or threatened to be) committed, or foreboding danger must be in place.

Who Would Publish my Book

Only publishers appearing on the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers approved publishers list are recommended. We will not connect you with a publisher not appearing on one of these lists.

How it Works

Any author may enter (published or not); however, the contest is limited to only unpublished manuscripts not currently under contract.

Ten finalists are chosen through a blind judging process. The winner will receive an engraved replica of a Claymore Dagger, free admission to the current year's Killer Nashville, and more. The top ten finalists also receive prizes. Any manuscript of exceptional merit deemed ready for submission will be recommended by Killer Nashville to agents, editors, and publishers regardless of placement in the contest.

The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony during the Guest of Honor dinner & Awards Banquet on the Saturday evening of the conference. After the conference, those who requested a critique will receive one from the judges.

To attend the awards ceremony, you must purchase tickets for the Guest of Honor Dinner. Register for Killer Nashville and the Guest of Honor Dinner here. The top three finalists will be reimbursed the cost of his/her ticket.

The History

In 2006, the Killer Nashville Conference was formed with one of its primary objectives to be helping writers advance their careers. In 2009, Killer Nashville founder Clay Stafford created the Claymore Award to further that goal by offering aspiring authors a path to publication. Click here to read more about Killer Nashville – A Conference for Thriller, Suspense, & Mystery Writers and Lovers.



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Killer NashvilleSince 2006, Killer Nashville® has become THE conference for mystery, thriller, and crime fiction authors and fans. Located in Nashville, Tennessee, the Killer Nashville Writers' Conference is held the third full weekend of every August. Killer Nashville® attracts bestselling authors from across the U.S., Canada, and beyond, plus scores of fans and budding authors. Sponsored by numerous national organizations, attendees have included authors, screenwriters, playwrights, filmmakers, fans, attorneys, editors, agents, and publishers.  > Learn more
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