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  1.           THE AWARDS

1.1       All entries will be read to create a long list of 12 titles. The judges will compile a shortlist of 6 outstanding works of fiction submitted for the SI Leeds Literary Prize 2024 (“the Award”), from which they will select a  winner, a runner-up and a third placed entry.
1.2       The winning award is £4,000 and this will be presented to the author of the best eligible novel or collection of short stories in the opinion of the judges.
1.3       There will be a runner-up award of £2,000 for the second placed novel or collection of short stories.
1.4       There will be a third place award of £1,000 for the third placed shortlisted novel or collection of short stories.
1.5       The winning author will receive a free place on an Arvon creative writing course of their choice.  The winner will also receive a digital showcase from The Literary Consultancy.  The second and third placed authors will receive complimentary access to an Arvon online masterclass. Peepal Tree Press will offer the three non-placed authors from the shortlist 2 one-to-one consultancy sessions in professional development support through its Inscribe programme.
1.6      Shortlisted writers will be invited to attend a range of free online workshops given by Anna Caig, Aki Schilz of The Literary Consultancy and The Written Academy.
1.7      Longlisted writers will be invited to attend a range of free online workshops given by Aki Schilz of The Literary Consultancy and The Written Academy.
1.8.    Non-shortlisted writers from the longlist will be offered mentoring from selected SI Prize alumnae, and offered 1:1 coaching sessions from The Written Academy.
1.9      The top three placed authors will receive manuscript extract assessments from The Literary Consultancy (up to 90,000 word assessment for 1st prize winner and up to 30,000 word assessments for runner-up and third placed entries).
1.10      The favourite book from the shortlist chosen by a panel of readers, primarily members of Soroptimist International, will be awarded the SI Readers’ Choice.  The award is £1,000 plus a year’s free subscription to Mslexia magazine.  These volunteer readers will read the manuscripts electronically and agree to delete manuscripts from their devices after the prize is awarded.
1.11       With the winner’s consent, the winning manuscript will be given very serious consideration for publication by Peepal Tree Press, if this is considered to be the best fit for the book.
1.12       In addition, all shortlisted writers will be asked to film readings from their shortlisted works for Prize films and social media.
1.13       All shortlisted writers will be required to participate in additional Prize promotional events to raise the profile of the writers and awareness of the Prize, as agreed with the Prize Director.
1.14      All shortlisted writers will be required to write a minimum of three short blog entries (250 words) for the Prize website during the 12 months following their shortlisting, in agreement with the Prize’s Marketing Consultant.

  1.           ELIGIBILITY

2.1       The Award is open to published and unpublished women writers, over the age of 18, of Black or Asian descent who are resident in the UK. This includes writers who identify as women or womxn. Ethnicity will be self-defined by entrants. As a guideline, Black or Asian descent in the context of the Award signifies

– any Black background, including:-

– Black African
– Black Caribbean
– any other Black background

– any Asian background, including:-

– Bangladeshi
– Indian
– Pakistani
– Thai
– Malay
– Philippine
– Vietnamese
– Chinese
– Japanese
– countries in the Middle East
– any other Asian background

– any mixed background, including:-

– Asian and White
– Black and White
– Any other background from more than one ethnic group.

Under the terms of Positive Action in the Equality Act 2010, these eligibility criteria are justified on the following grounds:

  • That the Award Partners reasonably think that Black and Asian women writers suffer a disadvantage linked to their race and gender, and have a disproportionately low level of participation in the UK writing industry and bestseller lists
  • That the action taken by the Award Partners encourages this group to overcome this disadvantage and encourages participation
  • That the prize is a proportionate response to the issue.

2.2       The Award is open to unpublished* novels and/or collections of short stories of any genre of no less than 30,000 words.
2.3       *Manuscripts that have been previously published will not be eligible. However, whilst the main body of the novel or collection of short stories should comprise unpublished work, submissions will be accepted where no more than 25% of the work has been previously published.  Manuscripts currently available for sale online, either in full or in significant proportion (i.e. more than 50% of the total manuscript) will be ineligible.  Manuscripts either partially or wholly available online for no charge will be eligible.
2.4    In the event that the entry receives a contract for publication prior to October 2024, it is the entrant’s responsibility to ensure that their Prize obligations can be fulfilled in relation to copyright and section 3.1 below.
2.5       Entrants must warrant that the entry is a complete original work of fiction and is entirely the author’s own work; that it does not infringe any existing copyright, moral or other rights of any third party, contains nothing obscene, libellous, unlawful or defamatory of any living person or corporate body.
2.6       Memoirs, biographies and autobiographies are not eligible.
2.7       Entries must be in English.
2.8       Authors may submit more than one novel or collection of stories. An additional entry fee for each submission is required (see HOW TO ENTER below).
2.9       Entries that are submitted posthumously will not be eligible for the Award.


3.1       By submitting a novel or collection of short stories to the Award the entrant acknowledges and agrees that excerpts (chosen by the Award Partners) of the winning, or other short-listed, novel or collection of stories may be read out or reproduced as part of the Award Partners’ promotion and documentation of the Award, including Award Partners’ marketing and publicity literature, events, and websites and as a feature of the 2024 Ilkley Literature Festival or any other agreed speaking opportunities free of any fees or royalty payments.
3.2       The Award Partners undertake to ensure that copyright of all manuscripts entered for the Award is protected.

  1.          JUDGING

4.1       The SI Leeds Literary Prize will be looking for the most original and engaging writing and will consider all entries on the basis of quality of prose and narrative voice. The Award aims to support and award excellence, creativity and originality.
4.2       Manuscripts will be judged anonymously, i.e. without knowledge of the author’s name, age or background. (Please see HOW TO ENTER below)
4.3       Judging of the Award will be as follows:

Stage 1:             All entries will be read by a team of readers and will be sifted in accordance with the Award criteria. The judging panel will agree a long list of no more than 12 novels/collections of short stories.

Stage 2:             The judging panel will read all long-listed entries and will select a Short List of 6 outstanding novels/collections of short stories submitted for the Award.

Stage 3:             The judging panel will further discuss and agree the winning, runner-up and third placed entries.

4.4       Shortlisted authors will be contacted personally by email or telephone.
4.5       The Judges’ decision is final and no correspondence can be entered into.
4.6       The judging will be fair and independent. The judging panel will be appointed by the Award Partners.
4.7       Any permitted reference to the Award by the shortlisted writers will be advised by the Award Partners.

  1.          HOW TO ENTER

5.1       Manuscripts must be submitted online following the process outlined on the Award website.  Entries can be submitted from 1 April 2024.
5.2       Manuscripts should be submitted in their entirety, i.e. as a finished novel or a finished collection of short stories. Incomplete works are not eligible. Authors may not add to or alter their manuscript after it has been entered for the Award.
5.3       The author’s name should not appear on the manuscript. The manuscript will be judged anonymously.
5.4        The Entry Fee for each manuscript submitted is £10 payable through the online submission process.
5.5       Entries must arrive by 13 May 2024. Late entries will not be eligible.
5.6       The Award Partners reserve the right to cancel the Award at any stage, if deemed necessary in its opinion, or if circumstances arise outside of its control.  If cancelled, the entry fee would be refunded.
5.7       The Award Partners reserve the right to refuse entry to the Award for any reason at its absolute discretion.
5.8       By submitting a manuscript the entrant agrees to undertake a mutually acceptable limited programme of activities to promote her writing and the Award.
5.9       The entrant agrees that she will contribute where possible to press and publicity activities for the Award and hereby grant the Award Partners all necessary rights in her contribution for press/publicity activities for the Award for all media in perpetuity.
5.10     Entrants will be deemed to have read and accepted these rules and to have agreed to be bound by them when entering the competition.
5.11     These rules and the entry submitted in accordance with them shall constitute a contract governed by the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.