Call for entries: young black writers competition

Calling all young black women and black non-binary writers aged 16-21. The Guardian is once again collaborating on a special issue of Weekend magazine with gal-dem, an online and print publication committed to sharing perspectives from women and non-binary people of colour. This time we want to feature your work. Today, we are launching a memoir writing competition on the theme of ‘conversations’. The winner and two runners-up will be published at and in the next Weekend x gal-dem issue in December 2020.

How to enter

All you have to do is submit a 700-word journalistic personal essay that shows off your talents – on the theme of conversations. We’re particularly interested in essays that take a creative approach to the theme. Did you have an unforgettable conversation with your grandmother about her youth that changed how you viewed her? Do you find having certain conversations really hard, and if so, why? Is there a conversation you regret, or one you regret you never had? We’re keen to hear about your personal experiences.

All entries must be sent to with the subject line ‘Guardian Weekend x gal-dem memoir writing competition entry’ by midnight on Monday 9 November. You must include your name and contact telephone number. If you are aged 16-17, you must have sought permission from your parent or guardian. Your personal data will be used only in relation to this competition in line with the terms below and our privacy policy. It will be deleted 100 working days after the winning entries are published. If you have any questions about the competition, send them to the same email address.

The judges

gal-dem CEO Liv Little, together with writer and bestselling author of Queenie, Candice Carty-Williams and gal-dem’s editorial team, supported by editors from Guardian Weekend.

The Prize

There will be one winner and two runners-up. These top three essays will be published in Guardian Weekend magazine as well as on You will have a video call with gal-dem and Guardian editors as part of the editing process before publication, and you will be paid £250 for your published essay. The overall winner will receive three months of mentoring from a member of the gal-dem editorial team and a 1-1 workshop with a Guardian journalist (via video). The deadline for entry is Monday 9 November. Good luck!

Terms and Conditions – Guardian Weekend x gal-dem memoir writing Competition

1 The Guardian wishes to showcase writing talent that has been formulated from the experiences of young black women and non-binary people. Therefore, the Guardian Weekend x gal-dem memoir writing competition (the “Competition”) is open to black women, girls and non-binary people aged 16 – 21 who are UK residents.

2 The Competition is not open to employees or agencies of Guardian News & Media Limited (“GNM” or the “Promoter”), their group companies or family members, freelance contributors to GNM, or anyone else connected to the Competition.

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3 Entrants into the Competition shall be deemed to have accepted these Terms and Conditions.

4 To enter the Competition you must submit a journalistic personal essay of no more than 700 words on the theme of conversations to with the subject line ‘Guardian Weekend x gal-dem memoir writing competition entry’. You must include your name, age and contact details, including your email address and phone number. No purchase is necessary. If you have any questions about how to enter or otherwise in connection with the Competition, please email us at with “Guardian Weekend x gal-dem memoir writing” in the subject line.

5 Only one entry is permitted per person. Entries on behalf of another person will not be accepted and joint submissions are not allowed. You are responsible for the cost (if any) of sending your Competition entry to us.

6 GNM accepts no responsibility for entries that are lost, delayed, misdirected or incomplete or cannot be delivered or entered for any technical or other reason. Proof of delivery of the entry is not proof of receipt by GNM.

7 The Competition opens at 09:00 on 22 October 2020 and closes at 23:59 on 9 November 2020. Entries received outside this time period will not be considered. GNM reserves the right in its absolute discretion to extend the closing date where the entries received are of insufficient quality.

8 You own the copyright to your Competition entry as its author.

9 By submitting an entry to the Competition, you give GNM:
a. Permission for your entry to be published on GNM websites including but not limited to (“GNM Websites”) and on any social media account controlled by GNM, including but not limited to Facebook and Twitter accounts (“GNM Social Media Accounts”), and you grant GNM a non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide licence to use and publish your Competition entry in electronic format (including on GNM Websites and GNM Social Media Accounts) and hard copy (including in GNM publications) for purposes connected with the Competition, and to edit the entry to enable such publication, and you hereby irrevocably waive, for the benefit of GNM, all moral rights in the entry to which you are entitled; and
b. The right to use your name and county of residence for the sole purpose of identifying you as the author of your entry and/or as a winner of the Competition.

10 Your entry must not be copied, must not contain any third-party materials and/or content that you do not have permission to use, must not promote any goods or services, and must not encourage inappropriate or dangerous behaviour, or otherwise be obscene, defamatory, distasteful, offensive, or in breach of any applicable law or regulation, or in breach of any confidentiality obligations owed by you to third parties. If we have reason to believe your entry is in breach of this paragraph 10 then we may not consider it and may disqualify it.

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11 Entrants aged 16 or 17 must obtain the consent of their parent or legal guardian prior to entering the Competition.

12 We may disqualify your Competition entry for the following reasons: your entry does not comply with these Terms and Conditions; you have not obtained the consent detailed in paragraph 11; you are not eligible to enter the Competition; or you cannot be contacted. In the event of disqualification, we may select a new winner in accordance with the selection processes outlined below.

Picking the winners

1 A panel of judges, including at least one member who is independent of GNM, will select three winning entries (one overall winner and two runners-up) from all valid entries received in accordance with these Terms and Conditions. Full details of the judging process and the names of the judges are available on request to

2 When choosing the winners, the judges will be looking for journalistic flair, a clear point of view and an original approach to storytelling.

3 The judges will select the winning entries on or after 10 November 2020. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

The Prizes

1 The three winning essays will be published in Guardian Weekend magazine and on on or before 31 December 2020. The three winners will each receive £250. As part of the editing process, the three winners will participate in a video call with a gal-dem x Guardian Weekend editor to prepare and edit their essay for publication. The one overall winner will also receive three months of mentoring from a member of the gal-dem editorial team (with mentoring sessions to be organised by agreement between the winner and the gal-dem editor) as well as a 1-1 workshop (via video conference) with a Guardian journalist.

2 Only one winner per household. GNM accepts no responsibility for any costs associated with the prizes that are not expressly included in the prizes.

3 The winners will be notified by email or telephone on or before 30 November 2020 and given details of how to claim their prizes. If a selected winner does not respond to GNM within 5 days of being notified of their win, the winner’s prize will be forfeited and GNM shall be entitled to select another winner in accordance with the process described above (and that winner will have to respond to notification of their win within 5 days or else they will also forfeit their prize). If a winner rejects their prize or the entry is invalid or in breach of these terms, the winner’s prize will be forfeited and GNM shall be entitled to select another winner.

4 The surname and county of residence of the winners, in addition to their winning entries, will be published on on or before 31 December 2020.

5 The £250 prizes will be paid to the winners within 30 days of the publication of their essays in December 2020. The mentoring and 1-1 workshop for the overall winner must be organised by agreement between the winner and the gal-dem editor/Guardian journalist.

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6 The prizes are non-exchangeable, non-transferable and not redeemable for cash or any other prize.

7 GNM reserves the right to substitute the prizes with alternative prizes of similar value in the event that the original prizes offered are not available.

Some other rules

1 The winners may be required to take part in promotional activity related to the Competition and the winners shall participate in such activity on the Promoter’s reasonable request.

2 The Promoter shall use and take care of any personal information you supply to it as described in its privacy policy, a copy of which can be seen at, and in accordance with data protection legislation. By entering the Competition, you agree to the collection, retention, usage and distribution of your personal information in order to process and contact you about your Competition entry. Your personal data will be used only in relation to this Competition and (with the exception of any personal information that is published, with your permission, alongside your winning competition entry) will be deleted 100 working days after the winning entries are published.

3 GNM accepts no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury or disappointment incurred or suffered by you as a result of entering the Competition or accepting a prize. GNM further disclaims liability for any injury or damage to your or any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from participation in or downloading any materials in connection with the Competition. Nothing in these Terms and Conditions shall exclude the liability of GNM under law for fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation, or for death or personal injury resulting from its negligence.

4 GNM reserves the right at any time, and from time to time, to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, this Competition with or without prior notice due to reasons outside its reasonable control (including, without limitation, in the case of anticipated, suspected or actual fraud). The decision of GNM in all matters relating to the Competition is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

5 GNM shall not be liable for any failure to comply with its obligations relating to this Competition where the failure is caused by something outside its reasonable control. Such circumstances shall include, but not be limited to, weather conditions, fire, flood, hurricane, strike, industrial dispute, war, hostilities, political unrest, riots, civil commotion, inevitable accidents, supervening legislation or any other circumstances amounting to force majeure.

6 The Competition and these Terms and Conditions will be governed by English law and entrants to the Competition submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

7 Promoter: Guardian News & Media Limited, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9GU.



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