Life Writing Prize Rules

Life Writing Prize

We are delighted to announce The Spread the Word Life Writing Prize 2017 in associate with Goldsmiths Writers Centre. Please read through the prize rules before submitting. You can also download the rules here.

Competition Rules

  1. Entries should be original works of life writing of no more than 5000 words (does not include the title). The word count will be checked at shortlisting stage and entries longer than 5000 words will be disqualified. There is no minimum word count.
  2. For the purposes of the prize, Life Writing is defined as ‘intended to be true’, i.e. not fiction, and will draw on the author’s personal experience. Traditional biographies are excluded. But pieces where a writer weaves in their own life with someone else’s, or with a concept, are welcome.
  3. Entries must be the original, previously unpublished (including previously self-published) work of the entrant.
  4. Entries can be self-contained pieces of life writing, or the first 5000 words of a longer piece of work.
  5. The Life Writing Prize 2017 is open to writers resident in UK, aged 18 or over. You can be unpublished, or have up to six professional publishing credits in fiction, life writing or poetry in print, online or broadcast.
  6. Entries must be the individual and original work of a sole author.
  7. Entries must be in English.
  8. All entries will be judged anonymously. Please ensure that your entry does not contain your full name on any of the pages.
  9. If any of the judging panel recognise an entry, they can participate in a discussion about the piece but will excuse themselves from casting a vote.
  10. The closing date for entries is midnight on Sunday 5 February 2017. Any entries received after this time will be rejected.
  11. Entries that are simultaneously submitted elsewhere are welcome – but please let us know as soon as possible if a piece is to be published elsewhere or has won another prize.
  12. Writers can submit as many entries as they wish. Multiple entries by the same author entered online must be entered separately.
  13. The winner will receive £1500, publication on Spread the Word’s website, an Arvon course (subject to availability), two years’ membership to the Royal Society of Literature and a meeting with an editor/ agent as appropriate. Two highly commended entries will receive £500 and a mentoring session as appropriate, and be published on the Spread the Word website.
  14. Twelve longlisted writers will be contacted the week beginning Monday 6 March 2017 and the titles of their entries only (ie no writers’ names) will be announced the week beginning Monday 13 March on the Spread the Word website and associated social media channels. If you are a longlisted writer you agree to not disclose the fact until the full results are announced in early May 2017.
  15. Longlisted writers will be informed of the judges’ final decision via email in the week beginning 3 April 2017. The results are to remain confidential until the public announcement of the winners, at an event TBC in May 2017.
  16. The winner and highly commended writers will agree to any reasonable request by Spread the Word to fulfill marketing obligations relating to the competition and their own entry, including attending and reading at events connected with the Prize.
  17. Copyright will remain with the author.
  18. Spread the Word will publish the winning entry on its website.
  19. Entries should be typed in black, double-spaced and submitted online via the Spread the Word website or in the post to the Life Writing Prize, Spread the Word, The Albany, Douglas Way, London, SE8 4AG.
  20. Unfortunately, we cannot return entries submitted by post.
  21. Employees or Trustees of Spread the Word, Joanna Munro or any members of her family, nor judges or their close family members are not permitted to enter.
  22. These terms and conditions are the Competition Rules. Submission of an entry will be taken to mean acceptance of these terms and conditions.