The Spread the Word Life Writing Prize in association with Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre was established in 2016. Open to emerging writers living in the UK aged 18 or over, the Prize was established to celebrate and develop life writing in the UK 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 2019 Life Writing Prize winner will receive £1,500, publication on Spread the Word’s website, an Arvon course, two years’ membership to the Royal Society of Literature and a development meeting with an editor and the agent Robert Caskie.
Two highly commended entries will each receive £500 and two mentoring sessions with either Jacqueline Crooks or Lily Dunn, a development meeting with an editor and the agent Robert Caskie, and be published on the Spread the Word website. Three writers will be shortlisted, and six will be longlisted.
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 longlist was published on Thursday 4 April. This year’s judges are Ros Barber, Inua Ellams and Colin Grant. In alphabetical order, the longlisted pieces are:
A Secondary School Education by Leke Apena
As Expected by Madeline Cross
Fat Baby by Alison Marr
Four Memories from a Berlin Summer by Sam Hampson
Hometown Legacy by Aisling Twomey
Neater by K Devan
The Joy of Cooking by Helen Longstreth
The Lady in Black by Charlotte Derrick
This is the house my father built by Sulaxana Hippisley
Undertow by Roisin Maguire
When Silence is King by Oluwafunmilayo Adewale
William and the Ham by Laurane Marchive
The winner will be announced at the Life Writing Prize Awards Event on Wednesday 15 May.