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Competition: The Nine Dots Prize

Writing.ie | Magazine | Writing Competitions
Nine Dots 1

By Writing.ie

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Competition deadline: 18th January 2021

The Nine Dots Prize is a prize for creative thinking that tackles contemporary societal issues. Entrants are asked to respond to a question in 3,000 words, with the winner receiving US$100,000 to write a short book expanding on their ideas.

The aim of the Prize is to promote, encourage and engage innovative thinking to address problems facing the modern world. The name of the Prize references the nine dots puzzle – a lateral thinking puzzle which can only be solved by thinking outside the box.

The question for 2020/21 is: What does it mean to be young in an ageing world?

By submitting a submission for the Nine Dots Prize (‘the Prize’), individually or with others, you agree to be legally bound by these Prize Rules. If you do not wish to be bound by these Prize Rules, please do not submit.

In these Prize Rules, “you” or “your” means you, the author (or co-author) submitting a submission for the Prize. References to the “Foundation”, “we” or “our” means The Kadas Prize Foundation, an English registered charity and company limited by guarantee, of The Harley Building, 79 New Cavendish Street, London W1W 6XB with registered company no. 08991513 and registered charity no. 1157614.

These Prize Rules should be read in conjunction with the Nine Dots Prize submission guidance for applicants 2020.

The Prize

The Kadas Prize Foundation awards the Prize (set out in more detail below), in cooperation with Cambridge University Press (CUP) and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Cambridge (CRASSH).

All submissions must be submitted through the online submission form on our website www.ninedotsprize.org. No entries submitted via other routes will be accepted. Late submissions will not be accepted or those over the set word limits. All submissions must comply with our Submission Guidance for Applicants 2020.

Entrants should receive emailed confirmation of their submission. If they do not hear within five working days, they should contact the Prize at questions@ninedotsprize.org.

The Foundation is not responsible for contacting or responding to entrants who provide unclear or incomplete information or for submissions that are lost, misdirected, delayed or destroyed.

You will promptly comply with all reasonable requests of the Foundation to provide further information or supporting documentation relating to your application.


All are welcome to submit: the only stipulation is that applicants must be 18 years of age or over. Responses and the resulting book must be in English.

Please also see the information about authors submitting from UK sanctioned countries in the Nine Dots Prize submission guidance for applicants 2020.

Individuals can only submit one application (whether alone or with others). There is no limit to the number of applications from author(s) engaged or employed by an individual institution or employer.

Trustees of the Foundation, Board members of the Prize, or the family members of any of the foregoing, are not eligible to submit.

Deciding the Prize

The winner will be decided by the Judging Panel who will consider the submissions based upon the Judging Criteria and award the Prize to the entry that in their view best responds to the set question. Further details on the composition of the Judging Panel and the Judging Criteria can be found in the Submission Guidance for Applicants 2020.

The Prize will be judged anonymously. The Judging Panel will make their decision on anonymised versions of the response and outline structure documents only. The Prize organising team may use the justification to confirm information contained in the submissions. But the final decision will be made on the strength and originality of the response to the set question.

The Judging Panel’s decision on the selected Prize winner is final and no correspondence will be entered into or challenge to the decision considered.

If no response is considered to be of the required standard, the Judging Panel reserves the right not to award the Prize. No alternatives to the Prize will be provided.

Prize monies

The winning entry will receive US$100,000 from the Foundation – payable in three stages: on announcement of the winner, on delivery of the manuscript to CUP and on publication of the book. You will be required to enter into a further grant agreement in respect of the payments – and the payments made to you will be subject to compliance with that grant agreement.

Book publication

The book will be published by CUP and made available open access online, and also published in a range of print and digital commercial formats, by CUP. CUP will also provide support and editorial assistance to the Prize winner. By submitting a response, you (and your co-entrants as applicable) are agreeing that, if awarded the Prize, the book will be published by CUP in various formats, and you will promptly enter into the necessary publishing agreement(s) with CUP or third parties for the publication in accordance with the Prize Rules.

The CUP publishing agreement will set out the terms and conditions concerning delivery of the book and its publication. It will also include provisions about intellectual property, and the royalties to be paid to you. You (and any co-authors as applicable) will retain ownership of the copyright in the final transcript of the book submitted to CUP, but will grant an exclusive licence/licences to CUP for the commercial exploitation of the book in accordance with the publishing agreement(s).

Conditions of Prize acceptance

By submitting a submission for the Prize, you agree that if you are awarded the Prize, you will submit a manuscript of between 25,000 and 40,000 words to Cambridge University Press by 2 January 2022. This will include delivering 60 per cent of the book by October 2021 (including some full chapters) to ensure the book is reviewed, edited and published on schedule. You will also participate in a seminar in October 2021 (or such other date as agreed) at CRASSH in Cambridge or virtually, which will discuss and consider the work in progress.

By submitting a submission for the Prize, you agree to undertake a reasonable number of activities (for example, media appearances, contributions to the Nine Dots Prize website, other social media engagement, other written outputs or progress reports etc.) as required to promote your own work and the Prize. The detail of these activities will be agreed between you and the Foundation and the terms stipulated in the grant agreement.

You agree to be bound by these Prize Rules. In your interaction with the Prize, the Foundation, CUP and CRASSH, you will not do anything, nor act in a manner, that will, or is likely to, damage the Prize, Foundation, CRASSH, and/or CUP’s reputations, names, trade marks or goodwill.

Originality of idea and writing

By submitting a response, you agree that your response and resulting book will consist of original work and will not infringe the intellectual property rights of any third party. If a third party’s material is used, you will obtain the necessary permissions from the copyright owner(s). You also agree that your response and the resulting book (including earlier extracts and versions) will not contain any material which is defamatory, private, confidential or which will breach any laws in any jurisdiction. Any response or part of the book that is found to breach any law in any jurisdiction may be disqualified from the Prize or publication.

The Prize seeks to reward original ideas but understands that you may have begun to explore ideas outlined in your response in previous publications. These may be referred to, or short excerpts included within the book, but your submission must be a new and original work in itself. If you do reuse previously-published material, you will be responsible for obtaining consent for any required permissions for the re-use of these, in accordance with the CUP publishing agreement(s).

See here for further details.

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