Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction – ‘First Chapter Writing Competition’

Baileys PrizeWhoops, where’s the time gone? Easter has passed in a blur of chocolate and as I write, there are small signs of spring out there (washing on the line and some weedy streaks of what might actually be sunshine).

Here’s a quick update of what I’m doing (feel free to tell me yours too – and then we’re up-to-date!):

* I’m reading: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
* I’m listening to: The Archers (who isn’t…?)
* I’m watching: The Durrells (ITV, Sundays, 8pm).
* I’m writing: A short story based on a cashpoint disaster last week
* I’m eating: Sunday roast dinner – hopefully – once I’ve cooked it
* I’m drinking: G&T! (not now but last night. I got a sudden urge for one after I lost £10 on the Grand National. I know, drinking and gambling. It’s the slippery slope..)

Grazia/Baileys ‘First Chapter’ Writing Competition

Here’s a free-to-enter writing competition with a fabulous prize (£1000 plus a trip to the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction awards ceremony in London on 8th June. Ooh, I would LOVE to go that!).

Marian Keyes (who’s also the competition judge) has written the first part of a chapter and you have to complete it in 800 – 1000 words. Easy, right?

I say, it’s worth a go if only for the writing practice and because it’s free to enter, even if (read on!) you don’t think you’ve got much chance of winning….

Two things about this competition that are slightly concerning:

1. It says ‘read the terms and conditions’ – and I can’t see them anywhere. Or am I being stupid?
2. You have to send a PHOTO and tell them your date of birth. Which makes me suspect that anyone outside Grazia’s ‘target market’ may not make the shortlist.

And what is Grazia’s ‘target market’ or ‘average reader’, I hear you say? Well, from their media pack, aimed at advertisers, I found this:

Grazia has a highly targeted demographic of 25-45 year-old women and more AB profile readers than Vogue and Elle. She’s a savvy, affluent, confident, busy and modern woman who actively participates in the world around her. She comes to Grazia for edited choice – on everything from the news she needs an opinion on that week to issues she wants to be moved by to simply discovering which heels will instantly make her wardrobe rock. She happily admits she’s “addicted” to Grazia’s unique mix of news, views and shoes.”

So, I strongly suspect that the winner – and the two runners-up – will be women aged between 25 – 45 (who’ve mentioned shoes in their entry..?). BUT, every time I write or say anything like this, people disagree with me. So, let me be proved wrong! Perhaps a 60 year old man will be the winner…!

Win The Longlist!

And still on the subject of ‘The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction’, here’s the longlist* of 20 books (I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read any of them! I tried to read the Kate Atkinson – normally I love her – but I just couldn’t get into ‘A God In Ruins’).

Anyone read any of the others?

Good Housekeeping magazine is running a competition to win all 20 books on the longlist but you need to be quick, as it ends at midnight tomorrow, 11th April.

Email your name and address to with Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist 2016 in the subject box. The competition closes at midnight on 11 April. This promotion is only open to residents of the United Kingdom aged 18 or above at the time of entry.

*UPDATE: The shortlist has now been announced (and shock, horror – Kate Atkinson is NOT on it!)

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23 Responses to Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction – ‘First Chapter Writing Competition’

  1. Downith says:

    Hi Helen. I’m reading A Place Called Winter right now. I did read A God in Ruins and loved it but I’m a bit of a Kate Atkinson obsessive. Have also requested My Name is Lucy Barton from the library.

    Re Grazia, at the bottom of the website page is a link to general T&Cs and within those is a link to competition T&Cs which seem to go on for a long time. I stopped reading! But I might have a go.

    • Oh yes, I see what you mean about the t & cs! Life’s too short to read all of those.! I think I will have a go too. I seem to remember entering this competition last year and trying to do something a bit ‘different’ but actually, the winning story, while well-written, was pretty much what you’d expect, if that makes sense. But it might have been a different judge. Ah, it’s no good trying to second-guess what they’re looking for really, is it? Good luck anyway, if you do have a go! (and I will probably try the Kate Atkinson one again.. although as I’ve only just started the 700+ pages of The Goldfinch, I may be some time..!)

      • Downith says:

        The Goldfinch is sitting unread on my Kindle… and has been for over a year. Let me know what you think of it, when you’re done.

      • Will do! Not sure I could read it on a Kindle though. It’s so long, that I need it as a proper ‘book’ (and I’ve got the hardback version, which is like a brick – only bigger) to hold in my hands and see how far through it I am!

  2. Julia says:

    Hi Helen,
    * I’m reading: the Bridport Anthology 2015 hoping that some of the stories’ greatness will rub off on my entries for this year’s Bridport.
    * I’m listening to: The Clitheroe Kid while doing the ironing. The Kid I love and the ironing I loathe. I’m sure all writers should be excused the ironing.
    * I’m watching: many many episodes of Keeping Up Appearances. I just love Hyacinth Bucket. I’m becoming more like her every year in my attitude according to his madge.
    * I’m writing: A short story where all the action takes place through a letterbox (no, it’s not a rude story)
    * I’m eating: a Lindt chocolate egg, which I dropped on the floor. I brushed it down as I was going to eat it until I remembered that that is the exact spot where my cats sit under my desk while they are begging me to feed them breakfast every morning while I am checking my emails to see if I’ve won anything (never happens)
    * I’m drinking: A chilled glass of cider, as I have a sore throat. But I still did my writing today. So maybe I deserve two glasses!

    • Julia, I like the sound of your letter box story! Sorry to hear you’ve got a sore throat (and who knew that cider had medicinal properties?! Who needs Lemsip, eh?). Hope you feel better soon!

  3. carlsburn says:

    You can find the t&cs on the grazias website at the bottom of their homepage and then search them by competitions. It’s just generic t&cs.

  4. Tracy Fells says:

    Thanks for this, Helen. I’ve sent my email to win the Bailey’s Longlist – worth an email. I also love Kate Atkinson and couldn’t get through ‘A God in Ruins’. Adored ‘Life after Life’ but got stuck half way on the next one. Hated Teddy’s granddaughter. Mean to restart it again but can’t work up the enthusiasm. Odd, because it’s been winning everything.

    • Tracy, I’m so glad you feel the same as me about ‘A God In Ruins’. I only read a short bit and it all just seemed so self-indulgent and well… a bit boring! Whoops! (My mum, who also usually loves Kate Atkinson), felt the same way when she tried to read it. But yes, you’re right, it’s getting all the awards. I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t win the Baileys Fiction Prize.. hold on.. no, the shortlist’s not up yet! But it’s supposed to be announced today.

  5. Hi Helen,
    Stick with the Goldfinch! Brilliant characterization. The story has stayed with me since I read it last year. There are many layers within the story, although the thickness of the book is very off putting.

    I’m currently reading The Eternal by Mark Chadbourn, on my Kindle, more horror than fantasy.
    Baggy Pants & Bootees by Marilyn Chapman, in paperback format, a time slip story. One narrative is set in the 1940’s during the war and the other in late 1960’s Leicester.
    I’m also listening to a Coffin Road by Peter May, A man is washed up on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris, barely alive. He has no idea who he is or how he got there. The only clue to his identity is a map tracing a track called the Coffin Road. I’m hooked!

    Apart from that, I’ve totally fell off the Slimming World wagon. My Pilates classes have all been altered, and it’s turned me into a grumpy old woman!

    Thanks for the information on Grazia, think if I heavily airbrushed my image, and sent in a soft focus I might pass for forty-five at a push! It makes you laugh doesn’t it?

    Have a good week, and whatever you do, enjoy it, because it ain’t coming back.

    • Thanks Maria! (I will enjoy the week – despite the torrential rain that we’ve got today!). I’m enjoying The Goldfinch, so hopefully I’ll get through the 700+ pages! It’s so beautifully written but not in an off-putting, over-literary style. I envy you your Pilates – I really want to do that. Must find a class and start (before it’s too late and I’ve completely seized up!) You enjoy your week too and don’t be too hard on yourself food-wise!!

  6. Wendy Clarke says:

    Yesterday I was not listening to the Archers (never have and probably never will). Instead I was walking in the Lake District then drinking Prosecco in the sunshine as it was my birthday. I’ve not read any of the novels in the Baileys list either but am about to start reading the Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon.

  7. Patsy says:

    I’m watching The Durrells too. It’s lovely.

  8. juliathorley says:

    Maybe I’ll enter the Grazia thing and get a photographer friend to Photoshop 20 years off me.

  9. charliebritten says:

    I am very suspicious about them wanting a photo. Which writer was it who wrote to a possible agent, mentioning, in so many words, that she didn’t look like the back end of a bus?

    • Charlie
      Hmm, I know what you mean about the photo but then, it’s Grazia! Image, looks, style are all very important to Grazia and perhaps – terrible though this is going to sound – perhaps they want a winner who can not only write but who ‘looks the part’?

  10. Lulu Green says:

    Oh dear,
    Do you reckon coz Im 51 , I may be past it ?? oh well Im having a go is’nt 50 the new 30 anyway!
    And the only passport photo pic I have, is a passport photo pic, so Im looking a bit dour and miserable, not me normal jolly self, well after a few G&T’S and a tube of Pringles I look jolly !!
    Here goes …
    Lulu Green

  11. rosgemmell says:

    Thanks for the link. I’m also watching the Durrells and several other TV dramas but I’ve never read a single one of those books on that list!

  12. ninevoices says:

    Grazia don’t need a photo. You must be young, fit and keen-eyed to track down those T&C’s and then wade through them. We eventually tracked them down on the main Grazia site under ‘In the News’, right at the bottom right-hand corner. No age limit, but we’re tempted to wager that bottle of Baileys Bristol Cream you’re right.

    Thanks for the details, though. Worth a try.

    Maggie, ninevoices

  13. Why on earth would they want a photo unless they want the winner to look the part? very suspicious…

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