2018 FITZCARRALDO EDITIONS ESSAY PRIZE

We’re delighted to announce that Joanna Pocock has won the 2018 Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize, an annual competition for British and Irish writers yet to have secured a publishing deal, rewarding the best proposal for a book-length essay. Pocock was awarded the prize for Surrender, a narrative non-fiction work on the changing landscape of the West and the scavenger, rewilder and Ecosexual communities, inspired by a two-year stay in Montana. She will receive £3,000 in the form of an advance against publication with Fitzcarraldo Editions, and will have the opportunity to spend up to three months in residency at the Mahler & LeWitt Studios in Spoleto, Italy, during the summer of 2018, to work on Surrender.  

Joanna Pocock is an Irish-Canadian writer living in London. Her essays, reviews, and travel pieces have appeared in Distinctly Montana, Litro, Sunday Independent, Los Angeles Times, the Nation, Orion, Tahoma Literary Review, 3:AM and on the Dark Mountain blog. In 2017, she was shortlisted for the Barry Lopez Narrative Nonfiction Prize. She teaches creative writing at the University of the Arts in London and works as a freelance editor for a variety of publishers.

The winning proposal was one of sixty-eight entries, and one of six to be shortlisted. The five other shortlisted entries were: 

A Woman’s Place by Rachel Andrews, an essay rooted in personal experience on what it means to exist as a female body in a contemporary domestic space. 

– Oliver Basciano’s Tichileşti, an exploration of isolation, community and contagion read through a visit to Tichileşti, the last leprosarium in Europe. 

– Felix Bazalgette’s Natural Magic, an essay on photography, the neglected histories that nourish it, and the strange things it makes us do, taking in elements of psychology, literature, art, militarism, architecture, design, anthropology, sociology, philosophy and economics.

Gay Bar by Jeremy Atherton Lin, an essay on the social and cultural significance of gay bars, positing the gay bar as both refuge from and microcosm of the new era of culture wars. 

– Rebecca Perry’s Four Invocations, an essay on death, the female form, female agency, and ideas of memory, legacy and haunting, focusing on four works of art: Judith Slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi, an allegorical painting of Queen Elizabeth I in 1610 by an unknown artist, The Death of Cleopatra by Edmonia Lewis, and The Execution of Lady Jane Grey by Paul Delaroche.

The prize, which was judged by Joanna Biggs, Brian Dillon, Joanna Kavenna, Paul Keegan and Jacques Testard, was set up to find the best emerging essay writers and aims to reward essays that explore and expand the possibilities of the form. Initially made possible by an Arts Council Grant in 2015, it provides the winning author with their first experiences of publishing a book, from the planning, research and writing of it through to the editing, production and publicity stages. The book will then be published by Fitzcarraldo Editions.

In 2017, Katy Whitehead was awarded the prize for Adventures in Synthetic Fun, an essay exploring the concept of ‘synthetic fun’ coined in the 1960s by Jeremy Sandford, and the changing nature of fun in an era of increasing automation, disputed oppression, widespread affective labour, illusory meritocracy, costly social mobility, divisive politics, and a degraded imagination. The other four shortlisted entries were Wolf: An Anatomy of an Illness by Elinor Cleghorn; English as a Foreign Language by Evan Harris; Other, Mixed by Will Harris; and Possession by Rebecca Ley. 

In 2016, Matthew McNaught was awarded the inaugural Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize for Immanuel, an essay about faith, doubt and radical religion, inspired in part by his experiences growing up in an evangelical Christian community in the south of England. The other four shortlisted entries were Corona by Felix Bazalgette; Bad For You by Alice Hattrick; Growing up Modern by Jennifer Kabat; and Double-Tracking by Rosanna Mclaughlin. 

THE MAHLER & LEWITT STUDIOS

The Mahler & LeWitt Studios are established around the former studios of Anna Mahler and Sol LeWitt in Spoleto, Italy. The residency programme provides a focused and stimulating environment for artists, curators and writers to develop new ways of working in dialogue with peers and the unique cultural heritage of the region. For more information please visit mahler-lewitt.org

EDITORIAL COMMITTEE

Joanna Biggs is a writer and editor at the London Review of Books. Her book about the way we work, All Day Long, is published by Serpent's Tail. 

Brian Dillon is a writer and critic. His books include Essayism (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2017) The Great Explosion (Penguin, 2015), Objects in This Mirror: Essays (Sternberg Press, 2014), Sanctuary Sternberg Press, 2011), Tormented Hope (Penguin, 2009) and In the Dark Room (Penguin, 2005; Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2018). He is UK editor of Cabinet magazine, and teaches critical writing at the Royal College of Art.

Joanna Kavenna is the author of The Ice MuseumInglorious (which won the Orange Prize for New Writing), The Birth of LoveCome to the Edge and A Field Guide to Reality. Her writing has appeared in the New YorkerGuardian, Observer, Telegraph, SpectatorLondon Review of Books and New York Times and she has held writing fellowships at St Antony's College Oxford and St John's College Cambridge. In 2011 she was named as one of the Telegraph's 20 Writers Under 40 and in 2013 was listed as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. She lives in Oxfordshire.

Paul Keegan has been editor of the Penguin Classics and Faber poetry editor; he co-founded Notting Hill Editions, has edited the Collected Poems of Ted Hughes and The Penguin Book of English Verse.

Jacques Testard is the publisher of Fitzcarraldo Editions, and a founding editor of The White Review.  

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Please read these eligibility and entry rules carefully before submitting. Submission of an entry is taken as acceptance of the entry rules. For any queries not covered below, please info@fitzcarraldoeditions.com. 

1) The competition is open to unpublished writers residing in Great Britain and Ireland only.

2) Entrants should submit a proposal for a book-length essay (over 25,000 words) to essayprize@fitzcarraldoeditions.com. The proposal itself should be no longer than 5,000 words. Entrants may also submit a separate writing sample of up to 5,000 words. Proposals and samples should be double-spaced, 12pt. 

3) Each proposal should outline the subject matter, scope, style and structure of the proposed essay, and include a word count, delivery date and biographical note.  

4) The proposals must be original, not previously submitted to a publisher. The writing sample may be previously published work. 

5) Entries can also be sent by post to Fitzcarraldo Editions, 243 Knightsbridge, London SW7 1DN. 

6) Only submissions received by email or by post by midnight on 15 March 2018 (GMT) will be considered.

7) Entries that are incomplete, are corrupted or submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

8) The entry must be the entrant’s own original creation and must not infringe upon the right or copyright of any person or entity.

9) Co-authored entries will not be accepted. 

10) Writers who have existing contracts, or who have previously held contracts, with publishers for books of fiction or non-fiction are not eligible to enter.

11) Writers who have published writing (fiction or non-fiction) in magazines and journals are eligible to enter.

12) Writers who have published books of poetry are eligible to enter.

13) Writers may submit only one proposal per iteration of the prize. 

14) The proposed essay must be written in English (no translations).

15) Submissions must be made by the author of the proposal.

16) There are no age restrictions.

17) When submitting, please include a short covering letter including your contact details, your name and the title of your proposed essay. The covering letter should be in the same document as your submission. Entrants should also submit a separate one-page cover letter on how they propose to use the residency at the Mahler-LeWitt Studios. 

18) Submissions from writers residing outside of Great Britain and Ireland will not be considered.

19) All submissions should include page numbers.

20) The essay must be original and should not have been previously published anywhere in full or in part. Published work is taken to mean published in any printed, publicly accessible form, e.g. anthology, magazine, newspaper. It is also taken to mean published online, with the exception of personal blogs and personal websites.

21) A meeting will be organised with all shortlisted writers to discuss their book proposal before the award of the prize. 

22) Unsuccessful entrants will not be contacted.

23) No editorial feedback will be provided to unsuccessful entrants.

24) The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding the judging process.

25) Fitzcarraldo Editions will have the exclusive right to publish the winning essay once it has been written, but reserves the right not to publish. 

26) Only submissions which meet all Terms and Conditions will be considered.

26) By entering this competition, each entrant agrees to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.