Go back

The Financial Times and The Bodley Head announce third annual essay prize

The Financial Times has been a byword for quality writing since 1888, home to some of the world’s best journalists and feature writers, including Martin Wolf, Lucy Kellaway and Gillian Tett. The Bodley Head publishes a distinguished list of non-fiction books by writers including Simon Schama, Karen Armstrong, Jeffrey Sachs and Roger Penrose.

The Bodley Head/Financial Times Essay Prize aims to discover global young talent in long-form essay writing. This competition is open to anyone between 18-35 years old who would like their work to be read and judged by Simon Schama, Tom Weldon (CEO, Penguin Random House UK), Stuart Williams (Publisher, The Bodley Head), Dan Franklin (Digital Publisher, Random House Group), Caroline Daniel (Editor, FT Weekend) and Lucy Tuck (Editor of FT Life & Arts).

Judges will be looking for a dynamic, authoritative and lively essay of no more than 3,500 words. It can be journalistic, a case study, wide-ranging or minutely focused. In keeping with the ethos of both sponsors, it can address any topic – from finance and current affairs to history and scientific discovery. We aren’t looking for a particular subject; we’re simply looking for quality writing.

Deadline for submissions is 30th November 2014 (midnight GMT).

The winner will receive:

  • £1000 and an e-publication with The Bodley Head

  • A mentoring session with The Bodley Head and Financial Times

  • A subscription to FT.com, and a selection of books from The Bodley Head

Two runners up will win:

  • £500 each and an e-publication with The Bodley Head

  • A digital subscription to Weekend FT, and a bag of books from The Bodley Head

Stuart Williams, Publisher, The Bodley Head says:

‘We’re delighted to announce this third edition of our essay prize and to be collaborating again with the FT. Last year’s essays covered reportage, history, Frankenburgers, reflections on mortality, magic mushrooms and literary history, and our winner was a blistering essay about cultural identity. I can’t wait to read this year’s equally varied and inventive entries.’

Caroline Daniel, Editor, FT Weekend says:

‘The Bodley Head/FT essay prize, now in its third year, is one of my favourite judging experiences. It offers the best, most concentrated way to find new writers, gauge what is on the minds of literary millennials and also to showcase some extraordinary emerging talent in the pages of FT Weekend. This is great for us as editors, for readers of the paper and also, we hope, for the prize-winners, whose work will reach a much wider new audience.’

Adnan Sarwar, whose 2013 prize-winning essay ‘British Muslim Soldier’ was published in the FT, says:

‘The Prize kept me going, being a writer isn’t easy and winning this one in particular was wonderful since I’ve long read the FT Weekend and my parents were proud to see their son on the cover. Professionally too, it’s helped, since more have now read my work.’
Submissions should be entered online here.

Visit ft.com/essayprize2014 for further information and follow the competition using #BHFTessaycomp.

For further information please contact:

Maria Garbutt-Lucero
Random House
+4420 7840 8563

Andrew Green
Financial Times

Back to top