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UEL launches new literary fiction prize for young adults


Celebrated author and performer Salena Godden to be a guest judge

By Kiera Hay

The University of East London (UEL) hopes to uncover the next generation of literary talent with a new fiction contest for London's young adults. 

The inaugural CityLife Prize for Fiction for Young Writers begins accepting submissions today. It is open to young people aged 16-19 living in one of the city’s 32 boroughs. 

Celebrated author and performer Salena Godden headlines this year’s judging panel, which will announce the winner in May 2017 at UEL’s annual Write Now creative writing festival.

A ground-breaking spoken word performer, Salena’s poetry and prose have been performed on the BBC and included in a number of influential anthologies.

“We want the prize to inspire new writers to think imaginatively about London and to influence the cultural landscape of the city,” said UEL Professor of Creative Writing Tessa McWatt. 

“It is an important, innovative and relevant prize because it offers a new way of harnessing the creative skills of young London-based writers to liberate the perspectives and stories of our cities.”

This year’s theme – The City – asks entrants to ruminate on London and its denizens. Submissions will be accepted until March 15. UEL is promoting the competition to schools around London.

The winner will receive a £500 prize and see their work published on UEL creative writing website CityLife. They will also be offered a place on UEL’s BA (Hons) Creative and Professional Writing course, subject to eligibility.

A shortlist comprised of nine other writers will be given the opportunity to attend a masterclass in fiction writing.

UEL plans to offer two free workshops for entrants seeking writing and editing advice. Details and dates of the workshops will be forthcoming.

There are no restrictions on topic or genre, as long as entries comply with the general theme of ‘The City’. Entries must be a piece of prose fiction and must not be longer than 5,000 words. 

The competition is free. For more information visit the CityLife Prize information page.