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Life Writing
Prize

OPEN TO NEW AND EMERGING LIFE WRITERS, SPREAD THE WORD’S LIFE WRITING PRIZE WAS ESTABLISHED TO CELEBRATE AND DEVELOP LIFE WRITING IN THE UK.

The Spread the Word Life Writing Prize, in association with Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre, was established in 2016 thanks to a generous donation from Joanna Munro. Blake Morrison is Patron of the Prize.

Free to enter, the Prize aims to find the best life writing from emerging writers from across the UK. The Prize defines life writing as ‘intended to be true’, reflects someone’s own life journey or experiences and is not fiction. The competition is open to writers who have yet to publish a full-length work or have a literary agent.

The 2017 prize was won by Jon Paul Roberts for 1955-2012.
The 2018 prize was won by Danny Brunton for New Boy.
The 2019 prize was won by Charlotte Derrick for The Lady in Black.
The 2020 prize was won by Lorelei Goulding for Birdie.
The 2021 prize was won by Santanu Bhattacharya for The Nicer One. 

PUBLICATIONS

The Life Writing Prize 2020 Anthology – features the top twelve submissions into the 2020 Prize. You can download it for free here:  https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/LifeWriting2020.pdf 

The Life Writing Prize 2021 Anthology – features the top twelve submissions into the 2021 Prize. You can download it for free here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/LWP2021-Longlist-Anthology.pdf

Celebrating five years of the Life Writing Prize features articles and new pieces of life writing from former judges and winners including: Blake Morrison, Catherine Cho, Joanna Brown, Charlotte Derrick, Lorelei Goulding, Jon Paul Roberts, Kerri ní Dochartaigh, Claire Lynch and Xanthi Barker. There is also a further reading list of books and resources for aspiring life writers to read. You can download it for free here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Celebrating-Five-Years-of-the-LWP.pdf

THE LIFE WRITING PRIZE 2021

The Life Writing Prize 2021 has closed for submissions. We will announce news about the next Life Writing Prize later in 2021.

The Prize was judged by Damian Barr, Catherine Cho and Frances Wilson. The mentees for the Life Writing Prize 2021 are Max Porter, Winnie M Li and Katy Massey. The winner of the Life Writing Prize received £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 each received £500, a writing mentor and an optional meeting with an agent or editor. The top twelve writers are published in a Life Writing Prize booklet designed to showcase the Prize’s top writers to the literary world.

Life Writing Prize 2021

Damian Barr

Life Writing Prize 2021 Judge


Catherine Cho

Life Writing Prize 2021 Judge


Frances Wilson

Life Writing Prize 2021 Judge


Max Porter

Life Writing Prize 2021 Mentor


Winnie M Li

Life Writing Prize 2021 Mentor


Katy Massey

Life Writing Prize 2021 Mentor


The Nicer One by Santanu Bhattacharya

Life Writing Prize 2021 Winner


Tromode House by Matt Taylor

Life Writing Prize 2021 Highly Commended


Carving by Carla Jenkins

Life Writing Prize 2021 Highly Commended


Grief Bacon by Sara Doctors

Life Writing Prize 2021 Shorlist


People That Might Be Us by SJ Lyon

Life Writing Prize 2021 Shortlist


White Lines by Lois Warner

Life Writing Prize 2021 Shortlist


The Secret by Susan Daniels

Life Writing Prize 2021 Longlist


How To Watch Your Mother Die by Penny Kiley

Life Writing Prize Longlist 2021


Commonplace by Laura McDonagh

Life Writing Prize Longlist 2021


Taken & Left by Imogen Phillips

Life Writing Prize Longlist 2021


The Strawbs by Pete Williams

Life Writing Prize Longlist 2021


By The Wayside by Nic Wilson

Life Writing Prize Longlist 2021


Latest

Life Writing Prize Alumni

Aisling Twomey

Longlisted 2019


Carla Montemayor

Shortlisted 2020


Cathy Galvin

Shortlisted 2017


Danny Brunton

Winner 2018


David Murphy

Shortlisted 2018


Deirdre Shanahan

Longlisted 2017


Elena Croitoru

Longlisted 2020


Farhana Shaikh

Longlisted 2018


Gill Haigh

Shortlisted 2017


Helen Longstreth

Highly Commended 2019


Joanna Brown

Highly Commended 2020


Jon Paul Roberts

Winner 2017


Josh Holton

Shortlisted 2020


Kashmir Tutt

Longlisted 2017


Kate Ivanova

Shortlisted 2018


Kathy Hoyle

Shortlisted 2017


Kaveri Woodward

Longlisted 2017


Kerri Ní Dochartaigh

HIghly Commended 2017


Laura Morgan

Highly Commended 2018


Laurane Marchive

Shortlisted 2019, Highly Commended 2020


Leke Apena

Longlisted 2019


Lizanne Davies

Longlisted 2017


Lorelei Goulding

Winner 2020


Lui Sit

Longlisted 2018


Maxine Davies

Shortlisted 2020


Nicky Watkinson

Longlisted 2020


Oluwafunmilayo Adewale

Shortlisted 2019


Roisin Maguire

Longlisted 2019


Ruby Eastwood

Longlisted 2020


Ruth Tudor

Shortlisted 2018


SR Shah

Longlisted 2020


Sam Hampson

Longlisted 2019


Sara Jafari

Longlisted 2017


Stephen Crawley

Longlisted 2020


Stevie Heaven

Longlisted 2018


Sue Hann

Longlisted 2020


Sue Rickard

Longlisted 2018


Sulaxana Hippisley

Shortlisted 2019


Topher Campbell

Longlisted 2017