Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize

The Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2020 is open for submissions until 1 June 2020 at 5pm BST. Please read the terms and conditions (below) before entering the prize .

The prize supports new writers, with no limits on age, gender, nationality or background. The winners of each category received a £1,000 cash prize and will be published by Wasafiri in print and online. They will also be offered the Chapter and Verse or Free Reads mentoring scheme in partnership with The Literary Consultancy (dependent on eligibility). Shortlisted writers will be published online with Wasafiri and may be eligible for Free Reads mentoring also.

This year our judges include Penguin editor Simon Prosser, judging fiction, Guardian journalist Aida Edemariam, judging life writing, and award-winning poet Raymond Antrobus judging poetryPublisher and poet Kadija Sesay is chairing the judging panel.

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

Terms and Conditions


  1. 1. The competition is open to any nationality and any age group.
  2. 2. The competition is open to anyone who has not published a book-length work in the genre that they are entering. However, if a writer has only self-published a book-length work, they are still eligible for the prize.
  3. 3. Work submitted must not have been previously published (excluding self-published work).
  4. 4. Eligibility depends on the submission remaining unpublished at the time of shortlisting.
  5. 5. The competition is not open to members of the Wasafiri Board or Wasafiri staff, or any individual involved in the administration of the prize.
  6. 6. Entries must be received at Wasafiri no later than 5pm BST on Monday 1 June 2020.
  7. 7. Failure to meet the conditions of entry will mean that a submission is automatically disqualified from the competition. Entry fee will not be refunded.

Format of entries

  1. 8. No entry may exceed 3,000 words.
  2. 9. Work must be typed, in Times New Roman, font size 12, double-spaced, A4, and submitted as a .doc file (no PDFs).
  3. 10. The document must be saved with the title ‘Category of entry_Title of entry’, e.g. ‘Life Writing_Story of my Life’.
  4. 11. Do not write your name or provide any other form of identification on your manuscript or in the document title. All submissions will be considered anonymously.
  5. 12. Multiple poems in the same entry (up to three) must be included in the same document, but each poem must begin on a new page.
  6. 13. Manuscripts cannot be altered after submission.


  1. 14. Entries are accepted through our website once the fee is paid. All successful electronic submissions will receive an acknowledgement.
  2. 15. Fee is per category: £10 for a single entry, £16 for a double entry.
  3. 16. It is important to us that the prize is accessible to as many writers as possible from all backgrounds around the world. Because of this, we offer a limited number of subsidised entries at a rate of £6 per entry, which must be accompanied by an explanation of the entrant’s need for subsidised entry (up to 200 words). There is capacity for 25 subsidised entries per month during the months that the prize is open (February-May 2020).

Prize giving and publication

  1. 17. No more than one poem by any poet will be shortlisted for the prize, and no person may win in more than one category in a single year.
  2. 18. Shortlisted entrants will be notified by email and will be invited to the prize-giving event.
  3. 19. A list of shortlisted and commended authors will be published on the Wasafiri website in October 2020.
  4. 20. The copyright will remain with the winning authors. Acceptance of the prize will indicate the author’s agreement to their work being published in Wasafiri and inclusion in a possible anthology.
  5. 21. Shortlisted entries will be published on the Wasafiri website. We reserve the right to edit these.
  6. 22. The judges’ decision is final. No discussion concerning the judges’ decision will be entered into.
  7. 23. Manuscripts will not be returned.
  8. 24. The entry fee is non-refundable.

Once you have read the terms and conditions above, you can enter the Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize here.




The Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2020 is open for submissions

'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, past winner of the Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize


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