2019 Prize announcement

Primadonna proudly announces the inaugural Primadonna Prize…

The new Primadonna Festival (30 Aug – 1 Sept) aims to celebrate brilliant writing from emerging as well as established artists. Primadonna will give prominence to work by women, while welcoming all genders, on stage and off.

 The Primadonna Prize underlines our ethos of celebrating and giving a platform to undiscovered and unpublished writers. The winner will be offered representation by Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown, newly crowned British Book Awards Agent of the Year 2019.

Judges will be given no information on the entrants. This is the first literary prize in which all entries will be judged without regard to spelling or grammar.

Who are the judges?

All first-round entries will be judged by the Primadonnas. Those selected for the second round will be passed onto a selected group of editors from one of the UK’s largest publishers who will choose five entries (a mix of fiction and non-fiction, the ratio of which will be determined solely by the quality of the writing).

Three Primadonnas—Lisa Milton, Monisha Rajesh and Cathryn Summerhayes—will be joined by three external judges: Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat and many other bestsellers; Lemn Sissay, official poet of the London Olympics and newly awarded the Pinter Pen Prize; and Northern Irish novelist, playwright and journalist Neil Hegarty to select one overall winner. The winning writer will be asked to present their work as part of a special event at the inaugural Primadonna Festival whichtakes place between 30 August and 1 September 2019 in Pettaugh, Suffolk.

How does the Primadonna Prize work?

The first round of entries will call for each entrant to submit 500 words of new writing (fiction or nonfiction) on the theme of ‘Primadonna’. Those shortlisted from the first round will be invited to submit entries of 3000 – 5000 words. This must be previously unpublished work.

All second-round entries must be accompanied by a summary of the written entry. For fiction submissions, we will require an accompanying ‘back-of-book’ blurb of 250 words max, and for nonfiction an overview of the finished project, also 250 words max.

A small entry fee of £8 is payable on first submission. This cost is redeemable against the full cost of a weekend festival ticket. If this entry fee cannot be met, free entries are available. Email: primadonnaprize.submissions@gmail.com.

Submissions will be read anonymously – judges will not be privy to personal details of the entrants such as name or gender.

What is the prize?

● 1st Prize: £500 cash prize, plus the offer of representation by Cathryn Summerhayes

● Runner-Up Prize (fiction): £100 cash prize and a two-hour mentoring session with author and Primadonna, Kit de Waal.

● Runner-Up Prize (non-fiction): £100 cash and a two-hour mentoring session with author, journalist and Primadonna, Catherine Mayer.

● Mentoring sessions will either be in person, on the phone or via Skype.

● All shortlisted entrants will be offered two complimentary tickets to the festival and a Primadonna Festival T-Shirt.