We are very happy to announce Kit de Waal as our new honorary patron.

I am delighted to be joining the Bridport Prize family as Honorary Patron. I’ve been on the receiving end of the Prize a couple of times and know how prizes can change your writing life – not just the winners but everyone who enters and strives to get their work good enough to enter. I’ve championed the Prize for many years as I know how hard the team work to make The Bridport Prize inclusive and welcoming. I hope to help to continue that work to take the Prize through the next fifty years – and beyond.

Kit de Waal, best selling author and former Bridport Prize winner
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Costa Book Award

Kit won the Bridport Prize twice in flash fiction, came back as a judge and in 2016 her novel, My Name Is Leon was published by Penguin and shortlisted for the Costa Book Award. It later became a BBC drama featuring Sir Lenny Henry who also voices the audiobook.

Kit’s memoir Without Warning and Only Sometimes was published by Hachette in 2022.

Working class family

Kit was born in Birmingham in 1960 to a Jamaican father and Irish mother in a working class family.

She worked for fifteen years in criminal and family law, was a magistrate for several years and sits on adoption panels. She used to advise Social Services on the care of foster children, and has written training manuals on adoption, foster care and judgecraft for members of the judiciary.

Creative writing scholarship

Through her writing success Kit has set up a creative writing scholarship, is a regular guest and interviewer in the media and at writing festivals. She recently became the first Jean Humphreys Writer in Residence at the University of Leicester.

An ambassador for the audiobook charity Listening Books, Kit is ‘a devotee of audiobooks. They reach you in a different way.’

Black Writer Residency Award

Kit mentored the two writers on our recent Black Writer Residency Award and is a constant support to the Prize and our advocacy for under represented writers.

Memoir judge

We are thrilled Kit is judging this year’s memoir competition.

Kit embodies the Bridport Prize

Kit embodies what our competition is about. She didn’t begin writing until her mid 50s and was once staring at a screen, wondering about sending off a piece. When she did, her life changed.

Read more about about Kit de Waal here or find her on Twitter @KitdeWaal and Instagram @kitdewaal.

Photo credit: Sarah M Lee.

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