Primadonna Festival launches inaugural writing prize

Primadonna Festival launches inaugural writing prize

The Primadonna Festival has launched its inaugural prize to celebrate "brilliant writing from emerging as well as established artists". 

Staged in Suffolk from August 30th to 1st September, the festival aims to focus on women’s writers to redress the gender inequality in publishing and says it will "give prominence to work by women, while welcoming all genders, on stage and off."

The Primadonna Festival is the brainchild of a group of women from publishing and entertainment, who include Sabeena Akhtar, Joanna Baker, Jane Dyball, Catherine Mayer, Kit de Waal, Shona Abhyankar, Jude Kelly, Alexis Kirschbaum, Lisa Milton, Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, Sonia Purnell, Monisha Rajesh, Catherine Riley, Athena Stevens, Cathryn Summerhayes, Sandi Toksvig and Sioned Wiliam.

Together, these 17 women—the “Primadonnas”—have worked to create a festival of "brilliant writing, borne out of a desire to give prominence to work by women and spotlight authors from the margins—and to create a thoroughly joyous and accessible experience. The Primadonna Prize underlines our ethos of celebrating and giving a platform to undiscovered and unpublished writers."

The winner will take home £500 and be guaranteed an agent in British Book Award Literary Agent of the Year Cathryn Summerhayes from Curtis Brown. The fiction runner-up will be awarded a £100 cash prize and a two-hour mentoring session with author and Primadonna, Kit de Waal. In non-fiction, the runner up will win a a two-hour mentoring session with author, journalist and Primadonna, Catherine Mayer and £100 cash. 

The first round of entries will call for each entrant to submit 500 words of new writing (fiction or non-fiction) 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 This must be previously unpublished. 

All second-round entries must be accompanied by a summary of the written entry.An accompanying  ‘back-of-book’ blurb of 250 words max is required for fiction submissions, and for non-fiction an overview of the finished project, also 250 words max. 

Submissions will be read anonymously – judges will not be privy to personal details of the entrants such as name or gender. A small entry fee of £8 is payable on first submission. Email to enter. The fee is redeemable against the full cost of a weekend festival ticket. If this entry fee cannot be met, free entries are available.