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The Women’s Prize/Grazia First Chapter Competition 2021

Writing.ie | Magazine | Writing Competitions
Women's Prize

By Writing.ie

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Competition deadline: 20th April 2021 UK Residents Only

Many of us feel that we have a novel inside us, but don’t know where to start. This annual First Chapter Competition, which the Women’s Prize delivers in partnership with Grazia, provides a starting point for your story – and perhaps the start of your writing career.

This year, award-winning, global bestselling author Dorothy Koomson has written the opening paragraph – and they want you to finish the chapter. You can take the story in whichever direction your inspiration leads, just keep to 800-1000 words and send it by 6pm, Tuesday 20 April.

The winner will join the awards ceremony in London on Wednesday 7 July, where their talent will be acknowledged in front of the biggest names in literature.

The story so far…

Dorothy Koomson has started the story – now it’s up to you to finish the opening chapter.

‘When I Fell’

‘I’m very good at pretending I believe in love. No one can tell that I don’t. I can act as if a ‘special someone’ makes my heart flutter; I convincingly swoon at other people’s romantic joy. I even rustle up tears when a relationship ends. But my heart is a patchwork of honour badges, each stitched over a scar from believing in love before. So being a love sceptic keeps me safe and pain free. And then I fell down those stone steps near Brighton Pier. A stumble, a trip and several sharp bounces down, and there I was at the bottom. Agonised and humiliated. Too ashamed to move.

B.W. was there too.’

How to enter

Continuing Dorothy’s story, write your first chapter (800-1000 words), and send it to Grazia, along with a short biography (200 words max), along with your address, email, phone number, occupation and date of birth. Read the terms and conditions and enter online at graziamagazine.co.uk/firstchapter

What you’ll win

The winner will have their chapter published in a full page of Grazia magazine, a year’s mentoring from Dorothy Koomson, and a goodie bag. They will also receive their award at the Women’s Prize for Fiction ceremony on Wednesday 7 July in London. Two finalists will have their chapters published on graziadaily.co.uk, and all three will receive a set of the six Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021-shortlisted books.

Terms and Conditions

These Competition terms and conditions should be read together with, and are in addition to, H Bauer Publishing Limited’s standard terms and conditions at the “General Terms” (click here to read). Together these specific competition terms and conditions and the General Terms shall be referred to as the “Terms”. Where there is a conflict between these terms and the General Terms, these terms shall prevail. Anyone who enters the Competition (an “Entrant”) will be deemed to have read and accepted these Specific Rules and the Competition Terms and Conditions and will be bound by them.


“First Chapter” running from the Start Date to the End Date as set out below (the “Competition”).


H Bauer Publishing, Academic House, 24-28 Oval Road, Camden, London, NW1 7DT LP003328.

(the “Promoter”).


The competition shall also be promoted online at www.graziadaily.co.uk (the “Website”).


Start Date: Tuesday 23 March at 6:00am

End Date: Tuesday 20 April at 6:00pm

(the “Entry Period”).

Any entries not received by this time will be invalid and shall not be included in the competition. For the avoidance of doubt, any entries received before the Start Date or after the End Date (as stated above) will be invalid.

Winner Announcement. We will contact the winner and the runners-up by phone and email. However if the winner cannot be contacted within five days from the date of the initial attempt to contact them, then another winner will be chosen in accordance with these Terms.

The name and the hometown of the winner and the runners-up will be announced in early July on the Website and in the Grazia magazine.


All Entrants must finish author Dorothy Koomson’s opening chapter, “When I Fell”, using between 800-1000 words (the “Creative Work”). Any Creative Work that is less than 800 words or more than 1000 words will not be considered.

The Creative Work must be sent along with a short biography of yourself (200 words maximum) plus your name, address, phone number, occupation and date of birth (the “Accompanying Information”).

The winner will be chosen by a judging panel made up of author Dorothy Koomson, Grazia deputy editor Kenya Hunt, and Grazia assistant editor Emma Rowley. The judges will be selecting a winner on the basis of whose entry is the most original, thought-provoking, well-written and entertaining.


There is no charge for entering, and Creative Work entries (with Accompanying Information as set out above) must be entered via the online entry form at www.graziadaily.co.uk/firstchapter.


• Open to UK residents aged 18 years or over on date of entry.

• Open to female entrants (including those whose gender identity is female) only, as this is a female fiction writing competition.

• Our employees (and their family members) or employees of any company involved in the Competition must not enter.

• All Creative Work entries must be between 800 words and 1000 words.

• We reserve the right to disqualify any entrant or winner who does not comply with any of the eligibility criteria and/or is in breach of these Terms. We reserve the right to repeat the competition mechanic or any stage of it in order to choose a winner that fulfils all of the eligibility criteria and is in compliance with these Terms.


There will be one winner of the Competition, and two runners-up. The winner and runners-up will be selected by a panel of judges (author Dorothy Koomson, Grazia deputy editor Kenya Hunt, and Grazia assistant editor Emma Rowley). The judges will select a winner on the basis of the following criteria:

The originality and creativity of the story idea.

The construction of the written piece in terms of pace, clarity and use of language.

One winner shall win the following prize (the “Prize”):

Mentorship for one year commencing on the date of the winner is announced on the Website and in the Grazia magazine (the “Mentorship Period”) by author Dorothy Koomson (subject to the Author’s availability). Mentoring activities may include, for example, quarterly video calls and/or reviewing a different piece of work produced by the winner. Any and all mentoring activities are subject to the Author’s availability and discretion and the Promoter is not responsible or liable for arranging or providing these activities. For the avoidance of doubt, the Promoter is not responsible for any aspect of the mentoring activities, including unsatisfactory quality or a prize winner being unable to take part in any aspect of the mentoring activities due to their own circumstances or restrictions;

A goodie bag;

The publication of the winner’s Creative Work in Grazia Magazine;

An invitation for the winner to attend the awards ceremony (the “Ceremony”) which will be held on 7 July 2021 in London (subject to restrictions and government gudelines). For the avoidance of doubt, the Promoter reserves the right to postpone the Ceremony unitil a later date if required by any government guidelines;

One night’s accommodation in a four-star hotel in London on the date of the Ceremony (subject to availability);

Travel from any UK airport/train station to London by reasonable route;

The six Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021 shortlisted books.

Two runners-up will win the following runner-up prize (the “Runner-Up Prize”):

Publication of their Creative Work on the Website (graziadaily.co.uk);

The six Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021 shortlisted books.

Prizes are non-transferable, non-refundable and no cash alternative will be offered.

Unless expressly stated, the cost of any spending money, food, drink or any other sustenance is not included. Any additions or upgrades to flights / train tickets, accommodation or otherwise are not included in the Prize and will be the sole responsibility of a prize winner to secure and pay for.

Unless expressly stated, the cost of travel to and from the relevant airports / train stations are not included in the Prize, no airport transfers are included.

Travel insurance is not included as part of the Prize and is the responsibility of the prize winner to secure and to pay for.

Unless expressly stated otherwise, travel to and from the event/venue, any accommodation or the cost of any spending money, food, drink or any other sustenance is not included in the prize and a prize winner shall be responsible for bearing the cost of any such additional expenses incurred in taking up the prize.

It is the responsibility of the winner to adhere to any applicable health and safety guidelines issued by the venue, and to inform the Promoter of any special requirements or adjustments which need to be made for the prize winner to attend the Ceremony.


9.1. DATA PROTECTION. Names, email addresses, telephone numbers, occupations and dates of birth will be collected and used to process entries. Your details may remain stored after the End Date but will not be used for marketing. Please see http://www.bauerdatapromise.co.uk/ for more details.

9.2. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND CONSENTS. By entering this Competition, you are consenting to our use of your entry both to publicise this Competition, our magazine or any other magazine which we own or control. This means that we may use all names, images, descriptions, photographs video footage, and other information, which you’ve submitted on entry, in any media, without paying you and without any time restriction. You also agree that we may film, record or photograph you in connection with the competition and /or the Prize (if you win!). We will own these films, recordings or photographs and we may use them publicly, including on the internet, for our radio broadcasts and/or for any promotional purposes on radio, in magazine or otherwise. You will also have waived any moral rights or right to payment that you may have had. In entering this competition you grant H Bauer Publishing Limited a non-exclusive royalty free licence in all intellectual property rights in your entry and agree that we may publish and promote this worldwide in perpetuity without any fee being due to you.


a. Entries that don’t comply with these Terms won’t be accepted and you may be disqualified if we think you’ve breached them.

b. One entry per person.

c. If there is a dispute about the operation of the Competition or the suitability of any winning entry chosen, our decision is final and no discussion will be entered into on this subject.

d. You are responsible for all costs of entry.

e. We accept no liability for network, technical or signal errors, issues or failures experienced by entrants when entering the Competition or at any stage during the mechanic of the competition

f. As far as it is lawful to do so we exclude our liability for any losses suffered in connection with the Competition or any element of the Prize.

g. We may cancel, amend end or suspend the Competition where we are required to do so in circumstances outside our control. We reserve the right to amend these Terms at any stage during the Competition if such amendment is necessary to facilitate the administration of the Competition.


H Bauer Publishing Limited is the Promoter of this Competition. Any concerns? Please email: firstchapter@graziamagazine.co.uk.

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