The Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize

 Full details 

The 2024 Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize, the fifteenth edition of the prestigious prize, is open from 1 February to 1 July 2024. 

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Exceptionally international in scope, the prize supports writers who have not yet published a book-length work, with no limits on age, gender, nationality, or background. The winners of each category will receive a £1,000 cash prize and publication in Wasafiri magazine. All winners and shortlisted writers will be offered the Chapter and Verse or Free Reads mentoring scheme in partnership with The Literary Consultancy (dependent on eligibility), and a conversation with The Good Literary Agency to discuss their career progression, as well as a one-year print subscription to Wasafiri.

Every writer recognised by the prize, running since 2009, remains part of the Wasafiri community, and is supported by the magazine as their career grows. Past winners and shortlistees of the New Writing Prize include the likes of Akwaeke Emezi, Caleb Femi, and Louise Kennedy, who have gone on to score deals with major international publishing houses such as Penguin, Peepal Tree Press, Bloomsbury and Hachette, and to be shortlisted for and win prizes including the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Forward Prizes, and the Bocas Poetry Prize, among many others.

Read the terms and conditions and enter the prize here.

About the judges 

Margaret Busby (Chair), Cristina Rivera Garza (Life Writing), Meena Kandasamy (Poetry), Isabel Waidner (Fiction)

 

Margaret Busby CBE, Hon. FRSL (Nana Akua Ackon) is a major cultural figure around the world. Her career has spanned work as a publisher, editor, interviewer, reviewer, scriptwriter, lyricist, radio and TV presenter, activist and mentor. She has judged prestigious literary prizes, including the Booker Prize, and served on the boards of such organisations as the Royal Literary Fund, Wasafiri magazine, Tomorrow’s Warriors, and the Africa Centre in London. She has been a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. In 2023, she was appointed President of English PEN.

Cristina Rivera Garza is an author, translator and critic. Recent publications include Liliana’s Invincible Summer (Hogarth, 2023), which was long listed for the National Book Award in nonfiction. The Taiga Syndrome, trans. by Suzanne Jill Levine and Aviva Kana, (Dorothy Project, 2018), won the 2019 Shirley Jackson Award. Grieving. Dispatches from a Wounded Country, trans. by Sarah Booker (The Feminist Press, 2020), was a finalist National Book Critics Circle Award In Criticism. She is M.D. Anderson Distinguished Professor and founder of the PhD Program in Creative Writing in Spanish at the University of Houston, Department of Hispanic Studies, and a MacArthur Fellow 2020-2025.

Meena Kandasamy has been described by the Independent as a ‘one-woman, agit-prop literary-political movement’. Meena Kandasamy is a poet, writer, translator, anti-caste activist and academic based in India. Her extensive corpus includes two poetry collections, Touch (2006) and Ms Militancy (2010), as well as three novels, The Gypsy Goddess (2014), When I Hit You (2017) and Exquisite Cadavers (2019). In 2022, she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL) and was also awarded the PEN Hermann Kesten Prize for her writing and work as a ‘fearless fighter for democracy, human rights and the free word.’ Her latest published work is Tomorrow Someone Will Arrest You, a collection of political poetry written over the last decade.

Isabel Waidner is a novelist based in London. They are the author of Corey Fah Does Social Mobility (2023), Sterling Karat Gold (2021), We Are Made of Diamond Stuff (2019), and Gaudy Bauble (2017). They are the winner of the Goldsmiths Prize 2021 and were shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize in 2019, the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction in 2022 and the Republic of Consciousness Prize in 2018, 2020 and 2022. They are a co-founder of the event series Queers Read This at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and they are an academic in the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London.

Photo credits: Margaret Busby CBE – Luke Daniels ©, Cristina Rivera Gaza – Annette Hornischer ©, Meena Kandasamy – AR Sumanth Kumar ©, Isabel Waidner – Robin Christian ©

 

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