07 April 2014

Grazia And The Baileys Women’s Prize For Fiction First Chapter Competition 2014

Are you harbouring an ambition to give up the day job and make a living from writing best-sellers? If you have a flair for writing and are bursting with creative ideas, this is the competition for you. Grazia has teamed up with the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction for a fourth year to find a star female writer.

Sarah Waters – critically acclaimed and award-winning author of five novels, most recently The Little Stranger – has written the opening paragraph of a new story. All you have to do is complete the first chapter in 800-1,000 words. It’s up to you what you write: we’re looking for imaginative, original storytelling.

The winner will be invited to join Grazia editor-in-chief Jane Bruton at the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction award ceremony on 4 June, where they’ll be presented with their prize of £1,000 in front of some of the world’s best novelists, agents, publishers and editors.

The story so far…
Sarah Waters has started the story; now it’s up to you to finish this chapter in 800-1,000 words

‘We lay calm in our beds that night. Even the baby, for once, slept soundly; even the dog, out in its kennel. And perhaps that was the odd thing, after all: how trustingly we slumbered.  As if fate had gifted us a few last wholly innocent hours, before innocence fell away for ever. For when I woke, in the early morning – what was it? A difference in the quality of the light? Some new texture to the silence? But I opened my eyes, and I knew it. Something had changed. Something was wrong.’

How to enter 

Your entry must include: an original 800-1,000 word ‘first chapter’ that follows on from Sarah Waters’ opening paragraph; a brief autobiography (200 words max); a passport photo of the entrant attached to a sheet of A4 paper; full name, address, phone number (mobile where possible), occupation and date of birth.

Read our terms and conditions, then send your entry to Morwenna Ferrier, Grazia, Endeavour House, 189 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8JG, or email firstchapter@graziamagazine.co.uk by 6 May 2014.

What you’ll win: First prize is £1,000 and the publication of your story in Grazia. The winner will also attend the invite-only party at The Royal Festival Hall on 4 June, where they will receive their award on stage (the prize includes hotel and travel). Two runners-up will have their story published on graziadaily.co.uk. All three winners will receive the six shortlisted books for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2014.

Meet this year’s judging panel

Sarah Waters - Best-selling author
Victoria Harper -Grazia senior editor and special projects director
Morwenna Ferrier - Grazia features and culture editor
Marianne jones - Grazia deputy editor

You have to be female, over 18, from the UK and previously unpublished to apply. Read full T&Cs here...


All posts must obey the house rules, if you object to any comments please let us know and we'll take the appropriate action.

Natalie Newman (Tue Apr 08 14:16:51 BST 2014): Hi there! Just wondering where we can find the terms and conditions?
Rachel Trimble (Tue Apr 08 14:33:27 BST 2014): Why do you need a passport photo?
Deborah Mason (Fri Apr 11 10:02:53 BST 2014): Can I just clarify a couple of T&Cs with you? In a lot of comps like this 'unpublished' doesn't include self-publishing - is that the case here? Also the T&Cs say that you get the copyright? Is that also the case here? Thanks
Anne Oatley (Fri Apr 11 18:19:35 BST 2014): I've had a short story published in a magazine and two in small press anthologies, but I've never had a novel published.Do I count as published or not?
Grazia UK (Sun Apr 20 11:01:34 BST 2014): To clarify, unpublished does include self-publishing.
Tanya Makibi (Mon Apr 21 09:04:13 BST 2014): Hi there!I'm so dissapointed with what I heard here because I'm from South Africa and I'm interested in this but the restrictions are binding me..but nevertheless will keep on following and reading your adds...Pindi..
Vicky MacKenzie (Wed Apr 23 11:59:19 BST 2014): Please can you clarify 'unpublished'? I've had stories and poems in magazines and anthologies, but don't have my own book published - am I disqualified? Thanks.
Luan Goldie (Wed Apr 23 19:26:43 BST 2014): Can we submit more than 1 entry? Thanks.
Emily Turner (Thu Apr 24 22:15:54 BST 2014): The terms and conditions are general for any contest you run. This one says you must be 'from the UK'. Does that mean you need to be a British citizen, or just be a legal resident?
Annie Harlow Turner (Thu Apr 24 22:23:30 BST 2014): Gifted is not a verb. Can we have another paragraph?
Becki Winson (Fri Apr 25 12:01:26 BST 2014): Hi Grazia would be good if you could clarify this - I'm in the same pickle!
Writing For Wellbeing (Fri Apr 25 18:01:29 BST 2014): Can I just clarify?... Is it a complete "story" or a beginning "first chapter", as you've used both terms, I'm not sure which to start. Thanks :-)
Swanangel Isa Boss (Fri Apr 25 18:21:12 BST 2014): This sounds so cool, but I live in Trinidad and not the UK, so unlucky me
Emily Clarke (Fri Apr 25 23:15:13 BST 2014): Are you allowed enter from ireland, I'll be over in june as I did when it was the orange prize?
Grazia UK (Sat Apr 26 15:51:38 BST 2014): In answer to your question Emily, a legal resident qualifies.
Grazia UK (Sat Apr 26 15:56:15 BST 2014): You must be unpublished in the literary sense. Self-published is fine and you still qualify. Only one entry per person and you have to use the Sarah Waters paragraph provided.
Lesley Rowe (Sat Apr 26 16:25:25 BST 2014): The above details say that the winner will enjoy 'publication of your story in Grazia' which intimates it's a complete story and not just a chapter. A few of us are a bit puzzled and want to do it right! Can you clarify this, please? Many thanks.
Charlie Willis (Sat Apr 26 19:34:30 BST 2014): Yeah it is :)
Annie Harlow Turner (Sat Apr 26 20:02:33 BST 2014): Charlie Willis If it has been added to the dictionary, then that's disappointing. Clumsy and pointless! Makes the speaker/writer sound like a dickhead.
Gemma Bianchi Slater (Sun Apr 27 07:22:32 BST 2014): I'm British but have recently (and temporarily) moved to Azerbaijan for my husband's job. Do I still qualify please?
Amy Bell (Sun Apr 27 22:07:01 BST 2014): If we're entering by email, will a digital photo do, or do we still have to post off a passport photo?
Stephanie Halifax (Wed Apr 30 17:32:09 BST 2014): Can the photograph just be passport sized or does it have to be an actual passport photo please? As long as the photo is clear, has no one else it and is sensible, and the right size, will it be ok? Thanks very much!
Lynn Westhead (Thu May 01 06:33:12 BST 2014): Thanks Steph, will have a go!!xxx
Grazia UK (Fri May 02 12:30:28 BST 2014): Just the first chapter will be published
Grazia UK (Fri May 02 12:30:58 BST 2014): Yes that's fine, but we can't fly to the UK if win
Grazia UK (Fri May 02 12:31:29 BST 2014): Digital photo please!
Hampden Swordale (Fri May 02 16:40:57 BST 2014): Do you send an acknowledgment when you receive an entry? (I didn't get one!)
Erika Szostak (Sat May 03 18:27:31 BST 2014): Sorry to be dense but I'm still unclear as to what you mean by "unpublished in the literary sense." Does having ever had writing published in anthologies / magazines / journals and/or having won or placed in previous writing contests disqualify us?
Grazia UK (Sun May 04 20:42:06 BST 2014): This is fine and will be accepted, as not had a book published.
Grazia UK (Sun May 04 20:45:29 BST 2014): That is fine.
Grazia UK (Sun May 04 23:09:55 BST 2014): That's fine, as long as you've not had a book published.
Sharon Mail (Sun May 04 23:19:47 BST 2014): I'm published as a non-fiction writer. Does that exclude me?
Erika Szostak (Mon May 05 10:17:58 BST 2014): Wonderful, thank you for clarifying!
Francoise Harvey (Mon May 05 10:53:09 BST 2014): Annie Harlow Turner Hi Annie, gifted has been used as a verb for a few hundred years. I think it used to apply to formal situations only, and it was a lot less popular in the 20th century. So it's not a new addition - it just seems to have been rediscovered. I agree, though, it is a clumsy word. Could always look at is as a hint that the chapter opens in the 1800s, though, and run with that!
Albina Kumirova (Mon May 05 16:53:49 BST 2014): It says: by the 6th May. Is this inclusive of the 6th or it should be emailed by midnight the 5th?
Clare Cooper (Tue May 06 14:46:58 BST 2014): I am wondering the same, having found out about the competition late. Just finished writing & not sure what time the entries need to be in by. I was thinking the 6th meant by the end of today and cannot find a specification of the time by which entries must be in by.
Naomi Julien (Sat May 24 10:42:10 BST 2014): Just wondering when the results will be announced?
Katy Beresford (Tue Jun 03 12:20:22 BST 2014): Hi - I just wondered when we can expect to hear the results of this competition? Will we receive an email? Thanks.