Literary festival offers prize for new authors

GET WRITING: Bridport Arts Centre’s director Polly Gifford

GET WRITING: Bridport Arts Centre’s director Polly Gifford

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by

THE Bridport Prize is offering a new award for aspiring novelists in honour of its founder, The Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award will carry a £1,000 prize, with the chance for expert mentoring and possible publication for a first novel.

Mrs Chapman-Andrews, who died in February last year aged 92, almost single-handedly started the Bridport Arts Centre, and along with it the Bridport Prize in 1973, as a way of helping to finance it.

Right from the start the competition attracted entries from all over the world and has grown steadily in stature and prestige.

Today, entries number many thousands and are received from more than 80 countries worldwide.

Arts centre director Polly Gifford said: “We are so pleased to be able to announce this new development for the Bridport Prize and in particular to name it in honour of Peggy Chapman-Andrews.

“Peggy not only founded the prize but devoted countless hours to its delivery and development.” The judge for the new award is still to be confirmed but the new prize comes with guidance from The Literary Consultancy, which is one of the country’s leading manuscript assessment and editorial advice services.

The new award is open to writers with a part-written or completed novel in any adult fiction genre.

The winning writer must not have previously published a novel, although other publications such as poetry, short stories and non-fiction are not counted.

Work will be judged anonymously and entries must consist of the first chapters of the novel, a minimum of 5,000 words and a maximum of 8,000 words in total, plus a synopsis of 500 words Bridport Prize readers will select a longlist of 20 which will be submitted to The Literary Consultancy and AM Heath Literary Agents, who, together with the named judge, will take the shortlist down to five and pick the winner The entry fee will be £20 for each entry and writers can enter any number of times.

If the novel is part-written, a minimum of 30,000 words with a strong synopsis must be available at the shortlist stage.

The winning first chapters will be published on the Bridport Prize website, and if, after the mentoring process, the finished novel is suitable, AM Heath Literary Agents will have first option to represent the winner.

The judges for this year’s Bridport Prize are Liz Lochhead for poetry, Andrew Miller for short stories and Tania Hershman for flash fiction.

Entries must be in by May 31 and cost £9 for short stories, £8 for poems and £7 for flash fiction.

The anthology of the 33 winning stories and poems of 2013 plus judges’ reports, is now available online or from the arts centre for £12.25.

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