Saturday 31 October 2020


Spread the Word is delighted to announce that
Damian Barr, Catherine Cho and Frances Wilson are the judges for the Life Writing Prize 2021.

Now in its fifth year, Spread the Word’s Life Writing Prize was established to find the best life writing from emerging writers across the UK. The winner of the 2021 Prize will receive £1500, an Arvon course, a writing mentor, two years' membership of the Royal Society of Literature and an optional development meeting with an agent and editor.

Two highly commended writers will each receive £500 and mentoring. The top twelve longlisted writers will be published in the Life Writing Prize Anthology.

Damian Barr says "I look forward to working with the other judges to find some thrilling new voices and help them get heard. Memoir has a unique power for writers and readers – it is an engine of empathy. Now more than ever we need to build bridges between seemingly disparate communities and cultures."

Catherine Cho says "Life writing is a window into someone else's life - it uses storytelling to connect the personal to the universal, to share experience in a way that's intimate and revealing. I am excited to read the entries and to be part of a prize that recognises the power of storytelling."

Frances Wilson says "I am excited and honoured to be judging the Spread the Word Life Writing Prize in its fifth year. Life-writing is still in its nascent phase, and I’m looking forward to finding new voices and being taken to places I’ve not been to before."

Ruth Harrison, Director of Spread the Word says “We are excited to be working with the judges and Goldsmiths’ Writers Centre as we celebrate the fifth year of the Life Writing Prize. In these challenging and changing times, it is more urgent than ever that we get to hear people’s own stories from across our communities to start creating new understandings and connections.”

Blake Morrison, Professor of Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London and patron of the Life Writing Prize, says "“Sometimes comic, sometimes sad, but always inventive, the best life writing tells it like it is. It puts us in healing touch with others. It reports on experience from the front line, whether the office, the kitchen or the bedroom. It brings us voices that too often are marginalised, truths that too often don't get heard."

The Life Writing Prize 2021 will open for submissions at 9am on Monday 2 November.

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