Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize: 2019 longlist with judges

By Emily Mercer on September 4, 2019 in Articles

The 2018 Wasafiri New Writing Prize Winners and Judges. (L to R): Kerry Young (Fiction judge), Deirdre Shanahan (Fiction winner), Susheila Nasta (Chair of the Judges), Len Lukowski (Life Writing winner), Elleke Boehmer (Life Writing judge), and Malika Booker (Poetry judge)


This week, Louise Doughty, Warsan Shire, and Nikesh Shukla are watching their mailboxes, opening excitingly heavy envelopes, and starting to read. We are delighted to announce that the long-listed entries for the 2019 Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize have been chosen and sent to the judges.

In this 10th birthday year, the prize received a massive increase in entries of more than 30%, from 890 in 2018 to 1210 in 2019 — making it a record-breaking year. We have been deeply impressed with the range and quality of the new writing that has come from around the world. Over the next month, the judges will select their shortlist of five pieces in each category, which will be announced on 30 September.

With our sponsors – Queen Mary, University of London and Routledge – this year we have more than tripled the prize money in each category (Fiction, Life Writing, and Poetry) from £300 to £1,000. Some of our eligible shortlisted writers will also be offered a bursary from the Free Reads scheme at TLC. These prizes, awarded to writers who have yet to publish a book-length work, will make a very real impact on the winners’ writing lives, and is part of Wasafiri’s broader work of platforming and championing the best new writing from anywhere in the world.

The winners will be announced on 9 November at our 35th Birthday Festival, ‘An Island Full of Voices: 35 Years of Wasafiri’. Come along for the day to participate in readings, workshops, and discussions, and hear our judges announce and read the winning entries of the Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2019.

You can read the 2018 winning entries in our 99th issue – out now.