Grazia and Orange’s ‘First Chapter’ Competition Will Help YOU Become A Writer!

17 April 2012

If you fancy yourself as the next JK Rowling, have a flair for writing and are bursting with creative ideas, this is the chance you’ve been waiting for. Grazia has once again teamed up with the Orange Prize for Fiction for a second year to find a star female writer. Best-selling author Rosamund Lupton (Sister and Afterwards) 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 story-telling. The winner will be announced by Grazia Editor Jane Bruton at the Orange Prize for Fiction award ceremony on 30 May – where you’ll be joined by some of the world’s best novelists, agents, publishers and editors. Plus, you’re invited to an exclusive event, 'How to get your first novel published' on 28 May at London’s Southbank Centre ( where Rosamund will be joined by fellow best-selling author Kate Mosse, Lauren Laverne and leading literary agents and editors. You’ll hear expert advice on how to get your foot in the door of the publishing world.
The story so far…
Rosamund Lupton has started the story - it’s up to you in finish this chapter in 800-1,000 words.
The Journey
The swaying of the train made her hands grip around her bag as if it was anchored and could support her. Outside the window, the trees were a blur of greens and it seemed to the woman as if it were the trees not the train which were moving, hurrying away from her, putting green distance between them. She’d started the journey with clearly defined logical reasons for it, which she’d neatly stacked up like a wall. But the rocking of the train, the judder as it had speeded up, had toppled them and the truth was now visible, poking out and ugly to her. Outside the window the moving haze of green trees was replaced by the still hard edges of a grey platform. She’d arrived.

What happens next? Tell us in 1,000 words
How to enter
Your entry must include an original 800-1,000 word ‘first chapter’ of , following on from Rosamund Lupton’s first paragraph; a brief autobiography (200 words max); a passport photograph 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 here then send your entry by Tuesday 8th May to Scarlett Russell, Grazia, Endeavour House, 189 Shaftsbury Avenue, London WC2H 8JG
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 30 May where they will receive their award on stage (prize include hotel and travel). Two runners up will receive £500 each and publication of their story this very site! All three winners will receive the six shortlisted books for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012 (see for the full list).
This year’s judging panel is:
Rosamund Lupton,
Best-selling novelist
Lauren Laverne
Kate Mosse,
No 1 bestselling novelist and co-founder of the Orange Prize
Hattie Brett
Grazia Associate Editor
Scarlett Russell
Grazia Entertainment Editor
Victoria Harper
Grazia Associate Editor


Only one entry will be accepted per person.  The closing date for receipt of competition entries is Tuesday 8 May 2012.

The competition is only open to UK residents over the age of 18, who do not have an existing or previous contract with a publishing house.

Entry to the competition and acceptance of the prize constitutes permission to use any winner's name, image and any competition entry photograph, for promotional and/or editorial purposes without additional consultation, and acceptance of these rules. 

By entering you agree that, should you win, Grazia will have first publication rights to your entry with exclusivity for a period of 56 days following publication.

This competition is not open to employees of Bauer or our competition partners or their direct family members. The winner/s will be selected by the judging panel.

Entries must be submitted by post; we regret that email entries will not be considered. Entries must include the story (1,000 words maximum), autobiography (200 words maximum) and a passport photograph of the entrant attached to a sheet of A4 paper with their full name, address, telephone number (mobile number where possible), occupation and date of birth.

Entries in the incorrect format will not be considered. 

Entries cannot be returned.

Entrants must produce all writing themselves, without any assistance, and the completed piece must be the result of their own labours.

Entrants warrant to BAUER UK that nothing within the piece is libellous, obscene, or in any way infringes the copyright or rights of third parties.

Only the winner/s will be contacted personally. The name of the winner/s will be available by sending a SAE to Grazia and Orange First Chapter award, 189 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JG.

Entrants must be available to travel to London on Wednesday 30 May 2012 for the prize-giving ceremony.

First Prize for two people includes:

- Travel to and from London (Standard class rail within mainland UK. Flights from NI only)  

- Luxury hotel accommodation (bed & breakfast only). 

- All additional expenses to be paid by Prize Winner (eg. bar bills, meals)

- Two tickets to the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012 awards ceremony on Wednesday 30 May 2012

Prizes must be taken as stated and cannot be deferred although BAUER UK reserves the right to change the prizes in the event of unforeseen circumstances. There will be no cash alternative.

Bauer Media does not accept any responsibility for late or lost entries.  Proof of sending is not proof of receipt.

Bauer Media’s decision is final in every situation and no correspondence will be entered into.

Bauer Media shall be permitted to exclude any entrant at any time at its sole discretion.


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

Gita Ralleigh (Tue Apr 17 14:15:39 BST 2012): Also this
Claire Coughlan (Tue Apr 17 14:32:05 BST 2012): Hi there, Is this competition open to Grazia readers in the Republic of Ireland? Thanks. x
Tracey Scott Townsend (Tue Apr 17 19:16:49 BST 2012): OK, shall have a go.
Sally Tuffin (Tue Apr 17 23:30:30 BST 2012): Is this competition open to people in Canada?
Celia Joy Anderson (Thu Apr 19 19:18:15 BST 2012): Thanks - this looks fab! Going to have a bash.
Janine Soucie Kelley (Tue Apr 24 16:36:51 BST 2012): Is this competition open to American writers?
Matty Jones (Wed Apr 25 18:20:04 BST 2012): Do you necessarily have to be female to enter?
Caroline Ambrose (Thu Apr 26 22:34:16 BST 2012): Attn: Anna Alex Emma Jane Jude!
Alex Wilson (Fri Apr 27 16:20:51 BST 2012): and when you win come the workshop on writing a synopsis at Writing Events Bath workshop
Karen Martyn (Mon Apr 30 12:38:17 BST 2012): I very much doubt it Matthew,that would be too sexist! Don't enter if you're really good!
Louise McGlen (Mon Apr 30 13:04:45 BST 2012): the photo...does it have to be an actual photo or can I copy a photo from my facebook/twitter profile pictures?
Oakley Kaye (Tue May 01 16:32:08 BST 2012): Got nothing to lose may as well have a go!
Nikki Moore (Wed May 02 14:43:37 BST 2012): Celia, hadn't seen this one! Thanks for the tip. I think I'll join you in having a bash! x
Alena Walker (Thu May 03 14:48:31 BST 2012): I second this question - just sent off my entry and the photo attached is the size of a passport photograph, but the style is slightly different. You can see my face just as well, though. Hopefully my entry will still be considered!
Michelle Hubbard (Fri May 04 19:26:33 BST 2012): In the magazine it says that you can enter online at - here is says you must enter by post?
Helen Craig (Sun May 06 16:03:38 BST 2012): I've entered by e-mail as it says you can in the mag but it says you can't on here, is my entry valid??
Mary Thompson (Mon May 07 07:38:54 BST 2012): I know that entries must be submitted by post but is it okay to send them with tomorrow's (8 May) postmark or do they have to be received by that day?
Alex Sowerby (Mon May 07 14:58:50 BST 2012): Similar to the comments from Michelle and Helen, I had understood from the magazine that we could email entries to - could you please clarify? Thanks
Beth King (Mon May 07 17:13:39 BST 2012): I too had my entry already to email and jsut read the t&c's saying only post entries, but the magazine says you can email. Will enteries still be considered if they are emailed, or can they be posted 1st class tomorrow to get there asap? It is a bit misleading and I don't want to waste my entry because of the differing t&c's.
(Mon May 07 17:46:42 BST 2012): Are you able to email it across? I didn't realise it had to be sent via post as the magazine states that you can email it.
Joe Bromley (Mon May 07 20:19:38 BST 2012): Oh Grazia, I love you, but I shall spit if it's true you only want entries by post... I've had the competition page on my desk since the day it came out with the email address/deadline firmly in my mind. Please accept my entry which is sitting freshly in your inbox.
Emma Trainer (Tue May 08 11:04:02 BST 2012): just spoken to Scarlett Russell. Apparently email entries are fine. Phew!
Yasmin Downing (Wed May 09 17:12:20 BST 2012): Alot of people have applied by email- are you going to accept these as stated in the magazine? And how do winners get notified?
Theresa Kay (Thu May 10 12:10:45 BST 2012): I too entered by e-mail as it implied you could in the magazine. I hope they have accepted it!
Danielle Rose Smith (Fri May 11 15:01:40 BST 2012): I wonder if the winner/s have been told yet?
Khadifa Vohra (Fri May 18 11:12:06 BST 2012): Has anyone heard anything as of yet?
(Fri May 18 15:08:59 BST 2012): I was just wondering... Are the winners announced? Does anyone here know the results?
Nicole Wilson (Sat May 19 16:37:21 BST 2012): They've chosen a winner, twitter says so - I guess the winner has heard/will hear early next week, and the rest of us after the 30th when the awards thing has happened.
Emily Jacobs (Wed May 23 14:17:01 BST 2012): Does anyone know if they winners have been contacted? xx
Rachelle Leigh (Fri May 25 13:30:32 BST 2012): Do the winners know yet?
Annex Achieng (Thu May 31 11:26:08 BST 2012): Congrat Cannot wait to read the winning entry!