Thanks for your interest in Spread the Word's Life Writing Prize 2019. 

This year's judges are Colin Grant, Inua Ellams and Ros Barber. You can read more about the Life Writing Prize on our website:

The Prize is open to writers resident in the UK and is free to enter. 

Before you submit, please make sure you've had a look through the Prize rules & guidelines for the Life Writing Prize 2019. You can find them here.

Got a question? Check out our FAQs here. If your enquiry isn’t listed or you need further information, do get in touch.

We're looking forward to reading your work. 

We have launched a new competition in partnership with Bookouture for writers to receive feedback on manuscripts.

Bookouture is a fast-growing UK-based digital publishing imprint dedicated to publishing high quality fiction. Their publishing team offering to provide written feedback on 6 fiction manuscripts by writers from under-represented backgrounds based in London, UK.

Bookouture currently has a particularly strong interest in emotional women’s fiction, book club fiction, crime, thrillers, and contemporary romance. The publisher is also keen to find a wide range of new voices across all genres, including historical fiction, saga, and fantasy. You can read a little more about what they look for here.

We define writers from backgrounds that are currently under-represented in publishing as:

  • Having a low household income
  • Being working class
  • Having experienced a lack of academic and/or vocational training opportunities – i.e. having not been able to study/train to their full potential due to low income, ill health, being a carer etc.
  • Being or having been a carer
  • Having experienced homelessness
  • Being a single parent
  • Having a disability
  • Being from a BAME background
  • Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community

How to apply

Please note this opportunity is only open to writers based in London, UK.  Only one entry per applicant will be accepted. This opportunity is only for complete fiction manuscripts.

What we will need from you:

  • A sample of your manuscript; of up to 2,000 words from the beginning
  • A full manuscript of your book (of no more than 100,000 words. This must be the entire manuscript)
  • A two-three line pitch on your novel

Please note that you must have a completed manuscript to apply for this opportunity, though it can be in its early drafts.


Deadline for submissions is 11.59pm on Monday 4 February 2019. Successful applicants will be notified by 26 February 2019 with the written feedback to be given to them by the end of March.

Writers selected for this opportunity will receive top-line feedback on their manuscript from an editor at Bookouture on what is working, what isn’t working, how characterisation, plot and setting could be improved, and how the book could better fit the market.

Find out more on what the Bookouture team are looking for here. If you have any questions on applying for this particular scheme, get in touch!

Spread the Word