The Guardian – What’s In It For Writers?

Thanks must go to fellow bloggers Sally Jenkins and Suzanne Jones for this – they’ve pointed me in the right direction with their recent magazine articles and blog posts regarding opportunities in The Guardian.

Firstly, a couple of free-to-enter writing competitions:

The Guardian Summer Short Story competition

Closing date: 5pm on 13th June. You can email your entry (only one per person) and the theme is ‘Journeys’. Maximum word count is 2000 words. The story must be unpublished and the first prize is publication in the Guardian Short Story Summer supplement – which may seem like a paltry prize but it would certainly raise your profile and look good on your writing CV. Five runners-up will see their stories published on the Guardian website.

Remember how I’m always telling you to look at what won last year? Do your research here!

Guardian International Development Journalism Competition
This is a very prestigious competition, in which 16 finalists will be taken out on assignment to Africa or Asia to write a feature for The Guardian. Closing date is 13 June. More details of this year’s competition – and last year’s winners are here.

Family Section in Saturday’s Guardian
The Family Life pages in Saturday Guardian’s Family supplement pays £25 for the following:

1. A letter to… (a personal and emotional communication, possibly to someone who’s no longer around).

2. Playlist (a description of a song that has some meaning to you)

3. Snapshot (a family snap with a short piece about it)

4. We love to Eat (recipe and anecdote about why you like this food)

Write to: Family Life, The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU
or email: family@guardian.co.uk

Remember to include your address and phone number. They don’t specify a word count but the articles/letters seem to be around 300 words and the Playlist I looked at was 150 words. There are more examples of what they’re looking for here.

OK, they’re not paying megabucks BUT I reckon these pieces would be fun and possibly not too onerous to write and you could truthfully tell people that you’d been published in The Guardian!

Oh and at least they pay something – and give you a byline, which is more than they do for the ‘What I’m Really Thinking’ piece. This appears in the Saturday colour supplement and it’s quite a fun piece, in which an anonymous writer opens up about something – often about their job (here’s one by a driving instructor):

They can be quite caustic – and truthful. I had one printed a while ago and no, I’m not telling you what it was (but it wasn’t the Lesbian Mother or the Cognitive Hypnotherapist!).

Apparently, they don’t pay (I did ask!) because most of the pieces are suggested by readers and then written in-house, following an interview but this didn’t happen to me. I sent in my 250 word piece, they emailed me immediately to say they liked it (that felt nice! They’d ignored two others that I’d sent) and then I had to tweak it slightly by answering a couple of questions, et voila! It was done.

It’s a good writing exercise – my class did it one term and seemed to enjoy it – but if you are tempted to have a go, just remember that you won’t get paid and you won’t have your name on the piece – just the (secret!) honour of being published in a national broadsheet.

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