Life Writing

Spread the Word Life Writing Prize in association with Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre is a new prize established in 2016. Open to any writer 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. The prize will reward the winner with £1500, an Arvon course, two years membership to the Royal Society of Literature and a meeting with an agent or editor as appropriate. Two highly commended writers will receive £500 each and a meeting with a mentor. The 2017 Prize was open for entries between 25 November 2016 and 5 February 2017. Results will be announced in Spring 2017, and entries for the 2018 Prize will open later in the year.


Life Writing Prize Longlist

Here it is, folks, the inaugural Life Writing Prize longlist… Our final twelve showcase a remarkable range of subject matter,..

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Life Writing Prize FAQs

We thought these FAQs might be useful for you to take a look through along with the terms and conditions..

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Life Writing Prize Rules

We are delighted to announce The Spread the Word Life Writing Prize 2017 in associate with Goldsmiths Writers Centre. Please..

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Amy Liptrot joins Life Writing Prize as mentor

Spread the Word is thrilled that Amy Liptrot will be one of the mentors for this year’s Life Writing Prize. Amy will mentor..

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A word with the Life Writing Prize 2017 judges

The inaugural Spread the Word Life Writing Prize in association with Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre has an inspiring panel of judges;..

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Interview with Joanna Munro

A donation from Joanna Munro kickstarted the Spread the Word Life Writing Prize. Talking with Spread the Word’s Laura Kenwright,..

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Spread the Word announce
a new Life Writing Prize

Spread the Word is pleased to announce a new Life Writing Prize for new and emerging writers thanks to a..

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“Life writing has a long and distinguished history and has become
an increasingly important genre in recent years – the primary
means whereby authors (often first-time authors) tell their own
stories, or the stories of their families, or the stories of people who
matter to them. Until now there hasn’t been a prize exclusively
devoted to this kind of writing. The creation of this one is a terrific
initiative and I look forward to being one of the judges in its
inaugural year.”

Blake Morrison


Blake Morrison

Blake Morrison was born in Skipton, Yorkshire, and educated at Nottingham University, McMaster University and University College, London. After working for the Times Literary Supplement, he went on to become literary editor of both The Observer and the Independent on Sunday before becoming a full-time writer in 1995. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and former Chair of the Poetry Book Society and Vice-Chair of PEN, Blake has written fiction, poetry, journalism, literary criticism and libretti, as well as adapting plays for the stage. His best-known works are probably his two memoirs, 'And When Did You Last See Your Father?' and 'Things My Mother Never Told Me'. Since 2003, Blake has been Professor of Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College. He lives in south London.

Katy Massey

Dr Katy Massey is a writer and researcher specialising in life-writing and non-fiction. She regularly works for festivals and arts organisations, leading workshops and organising arts activities. She also founded and runs Tangled Roots, an Arts Council England-funded project founded in 2013 about the past and present and future of racial mixing in the UK. Tangled Roots' photography exhibition, two print anthologies and live literature show have been very well-received, both in the UK and the US. She previously worked as a freelance journalist, writing about banking and finance for national newspapers and magazines, before gaining a PhD in Creative Writing from Newcastle University in 2010 which focussed on biography and memoir. She is currently working on 'Who Are We Now?' an examination of post-Brexit Britain from the perspective of it's non-white, non-indigenous residents.

Margaret Stead

Margaret Stead has been publishing director of Atlantic Books since April 2010, where she commissions literary fiction and non-fiction, and is responsible for the acquisitions strategy for Atlantic Books and its commercial imprint, Corvus. Recent Atlantic publications reflect her interests: The Iceberg by Marion Coutts, shortlisted for the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize and winner of the 2015 Wellcome Prize, The Unravelling by Emma Sky, shortlisted for the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize and Orwell Prize, The Lightless Sky by Afghan refugee Gulwali Passarlay, who made the journey alone to Britain aged 12, and Lu Spinney’s heartbreaking, powerful memoir Beyond the High Blue Air. Other authors include the brilliant Patrick Flanery, whose third novel I Am No One Atlantic published in February this year, AN Wilson, whose biography of Queen Victoria was the source material for the recent ITV dramatisation of the young Queen’ s life, Irish novelist Ruth Gilligan, Vince Cable whose first foray into fiction will be published next year, Christopher Hitchens, Christos Tsolkias and Damon Galgut. A New Zealander by birth, she is the daughter of poet and novelist CK Stead and sister of novelist and journalist Charlotte Grimshaw.


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