Enter Spread the Word’s 2021 Life Writing Prize


Spread the Word’s Life Writing Prize 2021 is open for submissions!

You can enter by visiting our Submittable page here: https://spreadtheword.submittable.com/submit/177777/life-writing-prize-2021 

Launched in 2016 in association with Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre, Spread the Word’s Life Writing Prize was established to celebrate and develop Life Writing in the UK. Free to enter, the Prize is open to writers who have yet to publish a full-length work or have a literary agent.

The winner of the Life Writing Prize will receive £1500, an Arvon course, a writing mentor, two years’ membership of the Royal Society of Literature, and an optional development meeting with an agent or editor. Two highly commended writers will each receive £500, a writing mentor and an optional meeting with an agent or editor. The top twelve writers will be offered publication on the Spread the Word website and in a Life Writing Prize booklet designed to showcase the Prize’s top writers to the literary world.

The 2021 Prize will be judged by Damian Barr, Catherine Cho, and Frances Wilson. You can find out more about the judges and what they’re looking for here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/announcing-the-life-writing-prize-2021-judges/

Entering the Life Writing Prize

To enter the Prize, please send us an unpublished piece of life writing that is up to 5000 words. This can be a stand-alone piece or the beginning extract of a larger piece of writing. For the purposes of this Prize, life writing is ‘intended to be true’, reflects someone’s own life journey or experiences and is not fiction. It is writing from the author’s own personal experience.

To enter you must be:

  • Based in the UK;

  • Aged 18+;

  • Currently unagented.

Because the Prize celebrates new talent, you are not able to enter the Prize if:

  • You are agented;

  • Your submission is due to be published or has been published elsewhere;

  • You have published a full-length work or had a full-length work performed.

Please note that writers who have self-published their books are eligible to enter the Prize.

Before you submit your entry, please read:

You can download the rules here (available in standard or large print).

Life Writing Prize 2021 Rules

Life Writing Prize 2021 Rules Large Print

We have also prepared a FAQ document for writers interested in entering the Prize (available in standard or large print). Please do check this document first, before getting in touch.

Life Writing Prize 2021 FAQs

Life Writing Prize 2021 Large Print FAQs

The Rules and FAQs are also available to read in our inclusive reads documents, as an alternative to both (available in standard or large print).

Life Writing Prize 2021 Inclusive Reads

Life Writing Prize 2021 Inclusive Reads Large Print

If your enquiry is not listed, then you can reach us at hello@spreadtheword.org.uk.

How to submit your entry

Submissions open at 12 noon on Monday 2 November and close at 11:59pm on Monday 1 February. (One minute before midnight). Late entries will not be considered. The Prize is free to enter. You can apply via Submittable or by post.

Apply by Submittable

Please submit your application via Submittable: https://spreadtheword.submittable.com/submit

Disabled writers are welcome to submit audio/visual files for their submission.

After you submit, you will receive an automatic email confirming receipt of your submission. 

Apply by Post
Please download the postal entry form , and attach it with your submission.

Life Writing Prize Entry Form 2021

Life Writing Prize Entry Form 2021 Large Print

Please post your submission to:

Spread the Word c/o Life Writing Prize
The Albany
Douglas Way
London, SE8 4AG

You will receive an e-mail confirming that we have received your submission.

We will notify all applicants the week commencing Monday 8 March 2021 regarding the outcome of your submission.

We’re looking forward to reading your entry – good luck!

This Prize is run in association with Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre, supported by Arvon and the Royal Society of Literature, and is generously funded by Joanna Munro.

Published 2 November 2020