The University of East London is launching a new literary fiction prize for young adults, the CityLife Prize for Fiction for Young Writers.

The University of East London is launching a new literary fiction prize for young adults, the CityLife Prize for Fiction for Young Writers.

The £500 prize is open to young adults aged between 16 and 19 and living in one of the London’s 32 boroughs. Its aim is to uncover “the next generation of literary talent” and to encourage new London-based writers to “think imaginatively about London”. 

This year’s theme – The City – asks entrants to ruminate on London and its denizens. There is no restriction on topic or genre but submissions must be under 5,000 words. 

Entries will be judged in the prize’s inaugural year by a panel headlined by author and spoken-word performer Salena Godden. Godden’s poetry has been performed on the BBC and included in a number of anthologies.

In addition to the £500 prize, the winner will see their work published on UEL’s creative writing website CityLife. They will also be offered a place on UEL’s BA (Hons) Creative and Professional Writing course. A shortlist of nine other writers will be given the opportunity to attend a masterclass in fiction writing.

UEL Professor of Creative Writing Tessa McWatt said: “We want the prize to inspire new writers to think imaginatively about London and to influence the cultural landscape of the city.

“It is an important, innovative and relevant prize because it offers a new way of harnessing the creative skills of young London-based writers to liberate the perspectives and stories of our cities.”

The competition is now open for submissions with the deadline for entires confirmed as 15th March 2017. The prize will be promoted in schools and UEL plans to offer two free workshops for entrants seeking writing and editing advice in the run-up (details tbc). 

The winner will be announced on 18th May 2017 at Stratford Circus at UEL’s annual creative writing showcase Write Now.