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The Bodley Head/FT Essay Prize

The Bodley Head/FT Essay Prize Competition 2020

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Applications call for The Bodley Head/FT Essay Prize Competition 2020

Every year, the Financial Times and The Bodley Head, one of Britain’s leading publishers of non-fiction, team up to find the best young essay-writing talent from around the world. Now in its eighth year, The Bodley Head/FT Essay Prize competition has been the springboard for many exciting writers. This year our regular judging panel is joined by the award-winning writer Yiyun Li and leading literary agent Emma Paterson.


  • £1,000 to the winning entrant.
  • £300 to each runner up.
  • Publication by the Financial Times in an FT publication (which may include on ft.com) subject to clause 12 below.
  • E-publication by the Promoter of the winner’s winning entry; e-publication by the Promoter of the two runners-up entries.
  • One mentoring session for the winner with a member of the Promoter’s editorial staff.


  • Open to anyone in the world.
  • Applicant should be between 18 and 35 years old.
  • The judges are looking for a dynamic, authoritative, and lively essay of no more than 3,500 words in English, on any subject.


  • Entries must be in the English language.
  • An entry must be an original work of which the entrant is the author and which has not been previously professionally or commercially published in any language and is not in breach of any third party rights
  • It will be a complete essay in itself; (ie not a fragment of a larger work) and
  • Must be submitted via the competition landing page on ft.com with the following specifications: no more than 3,500 words on any subject matter.

Terms and conditions


Type of Opportunity Competitions and Awards
Deadline24 September,2020
Open toAll
OrganizerFinancial Times
Contact the organizer[email protected]



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