Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize

The Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2019 is open for submissions in the categories of Fiction, Poetry, and Life Writing. The prize was launched ten years ago to support new writers, with no limits on age, gender, nationality or background. In this birthday year we are excited to announce that we are increasing each prize sum from £300 to £1,000. This increased value means that the prize can make a more meaningful difference for the winning writers’ careers.

The winners of each category will be published by Wasafiri in print and online and receive a £1,000 cash prize. They will also be offered the Chapter and Verse or Free Reads mentoring scheme in partnership with The Literary Consultancy (dependent on eligibility). The prize winners will be announced on 9 November 2019.

Click here to enter the prize.

This year our judges include Louise Doughty, who will be judging the fiction, Warsan Shire, who will be judging the poetry, and Nikesh Shukla, who will be judging the life writing category. Wasafiri Editor-in-Chief Susheila Nasta will chair the judging panel.

Louise Doughty is the author of nine novels, including Apple Tree Yard (2013), which was a top ten bestseller and adapted for BBC Television.  Her sixth novel, Whatever You Love (2010) is also being adapted and was nominated for the Costa Novel Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction.  Her work has been translated into thirty languages.  Her most recent book is Platform Seven (2019).

Warsan Shire is an award winning writer. Her first collection Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth was published in 2011. She won the Inaugural Brunel University African Poetry Prize in 2013, and in 2014 she was appointed as the first Young Poet Laureate for London. In 2015 she released a limited edition pamphlet ‘Her Blue Body’ and in 2016 she did the film adaptation and poetry for the visual album Lemonade. In 2017 she was included as part of the Penguin Modern Poets series alongside Sharon Olds and Malika Booker.

Nikesh Shukla is the author of three novels. The One Who Wrote Destiny was published in Spring 2018. His debut novel, Coconut Unlimited, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2010. His second novel Meatspace was released to critical acclaim in 2014. Nikesh is a columnist for the Observer and has written for several publications including the Guardian and the Independent.  He is the editor of the bestselling essay collection and the co-founder of the literary journal The Good Journal and The Good Literary Agency.

New partnership with Queen Mary University of London

Wasafiri  are excited to announce a new partnership this year with Queen Mary University of London. Queen Mary University of London is an established university in London’s vibrant East End. With staff and students from over 160 nationalities, they are one of the most diverse higher education institutions in the world.

‘The QMUL Department of English is delighted to be a part of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize – Creative Writing is a strong and growing area of our teaching and research, and QMUL English and Wasafiri have a long shared history of working together in the promotion of new literatures from around the world. This prestigious Prize, which has helped to launch the careers of many exciting new writers, reflects our longstanding commitment to the promotion of new voices and new perspectives from across the range of contemporary literature.’ – Dr Rachael Gilmour, Head of English at Queen Mary University of London.

The Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize is supported by Queen Mary University of London and Routledge.


The Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize is now open

We are now welcoming submissions in one of three categories: Poetry, Fiction and Life Writing 

'Before I was shortlisted I was convinced I was never going to write another poem again. Thank you so much for this, I never want to stop writing.' Amaal Said, winner of the 2015 Queen Mary Wasafiri Prize

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