Submit to the Bodley Head/ FT Essay Prize Competition

Yearly, the Financial Times and the Bodley Head, one of Britain’s top publishers of non-fiction, join forces to find the best young essay-writing talent worldwide. Currently, in its eighth year, the Bodley Head/FT Essay Prize competition has been a stepping stone for many fantastic writers. This year the regular judging panel is joined by the award-winning writer Yiyun Li and leading literary agent, Emma Paterson.


  • The Bodley Head/FT Essay competition is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 35.
  • Entrants can be from any part of the world.
  • The application is completely free.
  • Applicants who have any sort of working and/or professional relations with any of the judges are not eligible.

Submission Guideline:

  • The judges are looking for “a dynamic, authoritative and lively essay.”
  • The essay should not be more than 3,500 words.
  • They must be written in English and can be on any subject.
  • The winner will receive £1,000 cash and an e-publication with the Bodley Head, publication in the Financial Times, and a mentoring session with the Bodley Head.
  • Two runners-up will win £300 cash each and an e-publication with the Bodley Head.
  • Simultaneous submission is unacceptable. Only one essay per author will be accepted.
  • Please enter your details in the APPLICATION FORM, and paste your essay into the box provided.
  • The competition closes on Thursday, September 24, 2020.
  • The winning entrant and runners-up will be notified by the organizers by telephone in the first week of November 2020.
  • The winner and two runners-up will be announced in the Financial Times by November 14, 2020.
  • If the prize is declined or unclaimed by the winner, or if the winner cannot be contacted from the details supplied within 30 business days (“business day” means Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays) of notification, a replacement winner may be chosen at the organizers’ discretion and will be notified by the organizers.
  • In this case, the original entry that was chosen will then be disqualified

If you have any questions regarding the competition or your entry, kindly email

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge