Your own story

In your own words

We all have a story to tell about ourselves, the good, the bad and the how did I end up there? Celebrate a snapshot of your life, a fragment in time or rear view mirror look at what was and now is.

We initially need 5,000 to 8,000 words plus a 300 word overview. If you’re long listed we’ll ask for a total of 15,000 words, including your original word count. Shortlisted? Then we need a total 30,000 words, again including your original entry and long listed word count.

It’s your moment of truth.

“Know that your story is worth telling because of your unique perspective. Park all your worries, start small with a few minutes a day, and just get going. Words, phrases, images, sentences. Write it all down.”

Cathy Rentzenbrink, best selling author of The Last Act of Love
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First prize: £1,500

You will receive a year’s mentoring from The Literary Consultancy through their Chapter & Verse scheme. You’ll also have the chance to consult with A.M. Heath, a leading London literary agency, plus get valuable advice from an editor at John Murray (part of Hachette publishers). You have the option of taking part in an online seminar with Professor Sam North from the University of Exeter’s English Department. In addition, the opening chapter/s of your memoir will be published on our website. Finally, we will always champion you as part of our Bridport Prize family.

Runner up £750

Your full manuscript will be assessed by The Literary Consultancy with invaluable editorial feedback and you’ll be offered the chance to take part in an online seminar with Professor Sam North from the University of Exeter’s English Department. Your memoir’s opening chapter/s will be published on our website. You’ll always be part of the Bridport Prize family.

Highly Commended £150 x 3 awards

You’ll receive a 15,000 word manuscript appraisal from The Literary Consultancy, plus an invitation to an industry day with agents and publishers. You’ll have the option to take part in an online seminar with Professor Sam North from the University of Exeter’s English Department. You’ll always be part of the Bridport Prize family.

Background Elements

The Memoir Prize is open to writers of any nationality writing in English aged 16 and over at the time of the closing date.

Discover details of the memoir results timetable here.

• Your memoir does not need to be completed to submit. We accept work in progress.
• Entries must be entirely your own work and submission is confirmation of this. Any evidence to the contrary will result in disqualification.
• Co-authored work is not eligible.
• Work must not have won or been placed – 1st, 2nd, 3rd – in another competition. Long / short listed and commended work is eligible as long as a cash prize was not awarded.
• Writers must not be represented by a literary agent or under contract with a traditional publisher, at the point of submission or at the long listing or shortlisting stages. We will ask you to re-confirm eligibility if selected.
• If you receive an offer of representation while your memoir is under consideration, you must inform us and withdraw.
• Entrants must not have previously published a memoir although previously self-published memoirs, both in print and e-book form are accepted.
• Entrants who have had other types of books traditionally published e.g.) poetry or a novel, are eligible.

For clarity, ‘published’ means where a publisher has selected a work on editorial grounds for their list and that list publishes different writers as opposed to it being comprised of one author’s works, and where the author has not paid that publisher to do so.

• Simultaneous submissions are allowed but will become ineligible should they win a prize elsewhere, be published or receive notification of future publication while the competition is still being judged. You must inform us immediately should your entry be published or win a prize elsewhere. Entry fees will not be refunded.
• Translations into English are eligible provided the source text and translation are both the entrant’s own original work and have not been previously published.
• Entries submitted posthumously are not eligible.

If you have a query about eligibility, please contact [email protected]


Please ensure you read the rules carefully before entering the competition. Entry implies acceptance of all the rules and failure to comply may result in disqualification.

IMPORTANT: All entries are judged anonymously. Please do not include your name, address, phone number, email, website, twitter handle etc on the document or in the file name or it will be disqualified.


• Memoirs can be in any style or form
• Entries must be in English
• We do not accept work written for children
• Entries must be submitted online or by post. No email submissions.
Please check you are submitting the correct version of your work before uploading as mistakes cannot be rectified later. If you find you have submitted the wrong version or have made a mistake in the work, you can withdraw it and resubmit a corrected version. Please note a further fee would be payable. Entries can be withdrawn by logging into your Submittable account. To see how to withdraw, click here. Entry fees will not be refunded.
• The Bridport Prize expects to be recognised in any published memoir associated with us
• Writers can enter any number of memoirs


We disqualify entries if they are named, over the word limit or have no overview. If you forget to add the title or word count your entry will NOT be disqualified.


8,000 words max, (5,000 minimum) taken from the opening chapter/s and a 300 word overview which should form the first page/s of your entry.

Further submissions will be required if you are selected for the long list or shortlist. See details of these submission dates here

Long listed entrants will be asked to submit 15,000 words for the next stage of the judging process. This includes the original submission and overview. Entrants unable to comply will be disqualified.

Shortlisted entrants will be asked to submit 30,000 words for the final stage of the judging process. This includes the original submissions and overview Entrants unable to comply will be disqualified.


The first page/s of your entry must be an overview of 300 words maximum. Please feel free to make your overview as personal and individual as possible.

The Overview should include:

  • A general paragraph about the Memoir itself.
  • A paragraph which highlights the larger themes of the work (if there are any) for example social / cultural issues, history, identity, recalling a lost past, why you have decided to write about this subject – for example a family connection / secret, because you have a particular passion / expertise in the area in which you are writing, you feel your story may be a help to others.
  • A short paragraph about the structure – ie) chronological / thematic / something more impressionistic.


£24 per memoir.

Entries must be submitted online or by post. No email submissions.


• Entries must be typed in Arial 12 pt font, double-spaced with numbered pages and the memoir’s title on every page.
• Save as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or PDF file with the title as the file name. Please do not include your name in the file name as this will lead to disqualification.
• Max 2MB file. Include the word count for the overview and submission on the top right first page.
• Do not add cover or title pages
• Do not send illustrated work
• No handwritten submissions

Postal Entries

• Postal entry forms can be downloaded from the website at here.
• Please send one copy of your manuscript and a completed form.
• Amendments or substitutions cannot be made after submission. If you wish to correct errors, you must submit a new entry marked FINAL VERSION on the first page, enter again and pay the fee.
• Entries cannot be returned. Please keep a copy.
• If you want to know your entry has arrived safely, please include a stamped, self-addressed postcard with ACKNOWLEDGEMENT in the top left-hand corner.
• It is not possible to confirm receipt of entries by phone or email.


The judges’ decision is final and no individual correspondence can be entered into. Judges are unable to comment on individual entries. The Bridport Prize reserves the right to change the judge without notice.


Worldwide copyright remains with the author, but the Bridport Prize has the unrestricted right to publish extracts from winning and runner-up memoir on the website and use quotations from the twelve long listed memoirs for publicity purposes.
The Bridport Prize reserves the right to amend these rules where it deems necessary. Any changes to the rules will be posted on our website.

Results & Awards

The winner and runner up will be announced on the website and social media on 1st March 2023. Extracts from the winning memoirs will be published here on 10th March.


The Bridport Prize expects to be recognised in any published memoirs associated with us.

Any entrant found to be in contravention of the terms and conditions will be disqualified.

If you have a query about eligibility, please contact [email protected]


  • Carefully read the rules, entry requirements and eligibility before submission
  • Check you’re submitting the correct version of your piece
  • Check spam as our emails might land there
  • Get in touch with any questions before the 30 September deadline. Please email [email protected]


  • Forget to include a 300 word overview as the first page of your memoir
  • Worry if you omit the word count. You won’t be disqualified
  • Be alarmed if your entry confirmation email isn’t immediate. Log in and check your order history. All submitted entries are listed in date order
  • Get concerned if your postal entry fee hasn’t been taken. We open entries in batches and a delay is not unusual

Q: Can I make changes after submission?
A: No. If you want to submit an amended version, you need to enter again and pay the fee. You can withdraw your original entry by logging into your Submittable account. To see how to withdraw, please click here. To withdraw postal entries, please email [email protected]

Q: Do you accept email attachments?
A: No. You can only submit online or by post.

Q: An earlier version of my work was shortlisted in another competition, but I’ve changed it. Can I submit it?
A: If the work was not published, you did not receive a cash prize and it has been altered, then yes, it is eligible.

Q: My work was long listed in another competition and published in an online anthology. Can I submit it?
A: No. Previously published work is not eligible.

Q: I’m writing my autobiography. Can I submit an extract to the memoir award?
A: No. The competition is for memoirs only, autobiographies are not eligible. Please see our resources article here for an explanation about these different writing forms.

Q: Are simultaneous submissions to other competitions allowed?
A: Yes, though it’s on the understanding you’ll withdraw from the Bridport Prize if you win elsewhere. Equally, if you win with us you should withdraw from any other competitions.

Q: How many pieces can I enter?
A: You can enter any number of pieces.

Q: What about copyright?
A: Worldwide copyright remains with the author, but we have unrestricted rights to publish extracts from the winning and runner-up memoir on the website. Short excerpts from the twelve long-listed memoirs may be used for promotional material.

Q: Must my memoir be unpublished?
A: Yes, although memoirs that have been self-published, in print or digitally are eligible.

Q: My memoir isn’t finished. Can I submit it?
A: Yes, but please note the required length and timing of further submissions needed for long listed and shortlisted work. These can be found at here

Q: Does the memoir extract on my website count as publication?
A: Yes.

Q: Are translations allowed?
A: An author’s translation of their work into English is eligible but someone else’s translation of the work is not.

Q: My memoir was previously published in another language. Can I submit it in translation?
A: Yes, providing amendments have been made to the original work, you are translating the work yourself and it was not published in the UK.

Q: How do you sort entries if they’re anonymous?
A: Postal entries are coded then matched to an entry form once the judges have made their decision. Online entries are automatically tagged with a number connected to personal details.

Q: Can I use a pen name?
A: Yes. But please submit your piece in your real name. When winners are selected, we check what name you want to use.

Q: I accidentally included my details on the manuscript. Will it be disqualified?
A: Yes. You need to start over.

Q: Are postal entries returned after judging?
A: No. Please keep a copy.

Q: How do I get an entry form?
A: Download and print it from our website or email [email protected] to get one posted.

Q: What happens if I send my postal entry close to the deadline?
A: Entries postmarked on 30 September deadline date but arriving later will be accepted. Late entries are not.

Q: What if I forget to add a word count?
A: Don’t worry. We check if the work is long listed.

Q: When are winners notified?
A: Please see the full results timetable here


Ready to submit your entry?

The Bridport Prize is a way into the publishing industry. But more than that it’s a real confidence boost. Just being on the shortlist is a great achievement.

Euan Thorneycroft. Literary Agent, AM Heath
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