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The British Nigerian novelist Diana Evans.

The Women’s Prize for Fiction is one of the UK’s most prestigious literary prizes, awarded annually to a full-length novel by a woman of any nationality, written in English and published in the UK. Since its founding in 1996, African writers have been duly represented, including a win in 2007 by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for Half of a Yellow Sun.

Each year since 2010, the UK fashion magazine Grazia Daily organizes a writing contest for budding writers, in partnership with the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Entrants are required to complete the chapter of an opening paragraph, usually written by an established author. Entrants are expected to be based in the UK. A winner and two finalists are selected with cool rewards. The 2019 competition was won by Helen Rogers for her completion of the chapter of a story titled “Voice,” written by Gail Honeyman.

The 2020 prize has made a call for submissions. An opening paragraph, with the title “Caught,” has been provided by the British-Nigerian novelist Diana Evans who was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize in 2019 for Ordinary People.

Read the opening paragraph:

CAUGHT

If you steal something from another time, they will never find you. That’s what he’d promised. You disappear. You never were or are not yet. You’re transient, like speed, or like the wind. So easily she had stepped into those magical machines with their white coils and sharp rims, believing in the next world, the next moon and the next theft. But one day she was caught, and everything she discovered thereafter destroyed everything she knew about time. It does not move or tick. It is one place, one moment. It is us who are moving. None of this is real.

Entrants are encouraged to explore different terrains in completing the story, but to keep it between 800 and 1000 words. Submissions should be sent by 13 March, along with a short biography (200 words max.), address, email, phone number, occupation and date of birth to either firstchapter@graziamagazine.co.uk, or posted to Rhiannon Evans, Grazia, Academic House, 24-28 Oval Road, London NW1 7DT.

The winner will receive the following benefits:

  • They will have their full chapter published in Grazia
  • A meeting with a senior Penguin Random House editor
  • A year’s mentoring from Diana Evans and a goodie bag
  • They will also receive their award at the Women’s Prize for Fiction ceremony on 3 June in London
  • Two finalists will have their chapters published on graziadaily.co.uk
  • All will receive the six Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 shortlisted books

The competition would be judged by Diana Evans, Grazia deputy editor Rosamund Dean, and Grazia features & special projects director Rhiannon Evans.

Find out more HERE

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Chukwuebuka Ibeh is a Staff Writer at Brittle Paper. An alumnus of the Purple Hibiscus Trust Creative Writing Workshop, his work has been published in McSweeneys, Clarion Review, Charles River Journal and elsewhere. He was longlisted for the Awele Creative Trust Award in 2017 and was a finalist for the 2019 Gerald Kraak Award. In 2019, he was named by Electric Literature as 'One of the Most Promising New Voices of Nigerian Fiction' in a feature introduced by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. He is a regular contributor with the New England Review of Books and lives in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

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