The 2024 Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize is now open for submissions until July 1. This is a very special year for Wasafiri as they celebrate 40 years of the magazine and 15 years of the prize, so go submit your fiction, poetry, or life writing now.

Founded in 1984, Wasafiri is UK’s leading magazine for international contemporary writing and is known for its engagement with cultural travelling, diverse histories, and commitment to extending the established boundaries of literary culture.

Running since 2009, the Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize is an annual award supporting writers who have not yet published a book-length work, with no limits on age, gender, nationality, or background. Past winners and shortlistees include Akwaeke Emezi, Caleb Femi, and Louise Kennedy.

The winners of each category (Fiction, Life Writing and Poetry) will receive a £1,000 cash prize and will be published in Wasafiri’s print 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.

This year’s judges are Margaret Busby (Chair), Cristina Rivera Garza (Life Writing), Meena Kandasamy (Poetry), and Isabel Waidner (Fiction). Associated with the prize since its launch 15 years ago, Busby remarked that she is excited judge texts that inspire dialogue and act “as a necessary reminder of what is possible when the imagination is freed from the constraints of margins and borders.”

Fiction judge Isabel Waidner said she will be “looking for fiction that is adventurous and inventive in its approach to literary form. That writes difference with urgency and criticality. That doesn’t underestimate humour as a strategy of resistance. And that knows, or knows it doesn’t know, what it wants.” Meanwhile, life writing judge Cristina Rivera Garza is looking forward to “courageous, inquisitive, path-opening pieces of writing.”

Poetry judge Meena Kandasamy added she will be “looking for the things I look for in the best of poetry: something to still my blood, something to make me say a prayer, something to wipe a tear, something which makes me raise my fist in a march. I’m waiting to be moved, I’m waiting to read someone bear witness, I’m waiting for the singular pleasure that language offers.”

Eligibility :

  • The competition is open to anyone who has not published or signed a contract to publish a book-length work of fiction, life writing, or poetry, except for self-published works or poetry chapbooks.
  • Entries must be in English and must not have been previously published in any form (excluding live performances or shares on personal blogs or social media channels).
  • If entries are published, or accepted for publication, elsewhere between submission and shortlisting, they will no longer be eligible.
  • The competition is not open to members of the Wasafiri Board or Wasafiri staff, or any individual involved in the administration of the prize, or their families.

Submission Guidelines:

  • No entry may exceed 3,000 words.
  • All prizes are for short works, not for novel/memoir extracts. While extracts from longer works are eligible, they must stand alone as complete works in their own right.
  • A single poetry entry can include up to three poems, which together total no more than 3,000 words. Each poem must each be submitted as a separate document.
  • 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.
  • Work must be typed, in a legible font, font size 12, double-spaced, A4, and submitted as a .doc file or similar.
  • Manuscripts cannot be altered after submission.
  • Fees: Entries are considered accepted through the website once the fee is paid. Wasafiri offers subsidized entries for those who would not otherwise be able to enter the prize. Fee is per entry: £12 for a single entry, £16 for a double entry, and £6 for a single subsidized entry. You may make multiple entries if you would like to do so by completing the entry form multiple times.

Deadline: July 1, 2024

Submit here.

Shortlisted entrants will be notified in September 2024. Good luck to all applicants!