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Montegrappa Writing Prize

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The Montegrappa Writing Prize 2017 is now closed.

Participants must submit the first 2,000 words of your manuscript and a synopsis of 400 words. Entries will be read and judged by top UK Literary Agent, Luigi Bonomi. The Prize includes individual sessions with Bonomi and a trip to the London Book Fair 2017, 14-16 March 2017. The top 5 participants will be able to discuss their work with Luigi Bonomi at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2017.

The Montegrappa Writing Prize, launched by Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in 2013 with Montegrappa and Luigi Bonomi Associates, is a competition aimed exclusively at UAE residents who have never had a novel published. All entries are read by Luigi Bonomi Associates and the winner receives a trip to London Book Fair and lunch with Bonomi.

While the Prize does not guarantee a book deal, the results speak for themselves. 2013 Prize winner Annabel Kantaria secured a three-book deal with Harlequin and has published two books, the latest of which, The Disappearance, was launched at the 2016 Festival. 2013 runner-up Rachel Hamilton received a two-book deal with Simon & Schuster and has since gone on to publish three books. In early 2015, Chicken House acquired the rights to 2014 runner-up Lucinda Martin’s Moth and the Nightingale, for publication in 2016.

The 2016 Prize was won by Karen Osman for Dear Michael and runners-up were Charlotte Butterfield (Very Nearly Perfect), Ahmed Bukhatir (Dragon Boy), A. Webber (Erasure) and Jessica Jarlvi Graham (Deception).

Previous winners of the Prize are available here.

Luigi Bonomi is a literary agent who has launched the careers of many bestselling authors. He is the founder of Luigi Bonomi Associates (LBA), which represents a variety of authors, journalists and writers, including John Humphrys, Esther Rantzen and Alan Titchmarsh. In addition to his day job, he is Honorary Professor of Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University and Literary Consultant for the Sunday Times Oxford University Literary Festival. In 2010 he won the Bookseller Industry Award for Literary Agent of the Year.

Bonomi has provided writing tips for aspiring writers here.

Closing date – 19 January, 2017

Who can enter?

  •  The Montegrappa Writing Prize is open to adult writers over 21 of any nationality who are currently resident in the UAE
  • The novel can be any genre, but must be in English
  • It is imperative that participants entering the Prize intend to complete the manuscript, either before or shortly after the winners are announced in March 2017
  • Entrants must not have had a novel published before* (see below for explanation)

What is the prize?

The winner receives:

  • a Montegrappa Limited Edition pen
  • a trip to the London Book Fair, 14-16 March 2017, to include flights with Emirates and accommodation
  • one copy of the current Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook

Four runners-up will receive:

  • a Montegrappa pen
  • one copy of the current Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook
  • an individual feedback session with Luigi Bonomi at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

Winners will be announced only at the prize-giving ceremony held during the Festival. All participants are required to attend the event.

What are the rules?

Please read these Prize rules carefully. If you enter, we will assume that you have read these rules and that you agree to them.

  •  The entry fee of 200 dirhams is payable online before submission
  • Your synopsis must be 400 words maximum. Please put the synopsis at the start of your submission
  • Submit ONLY the first 2,000 words of your manuscript
    Important note: Any entries without a synopsis or longer than 2,000 words will be disqualified

Manuscripts must be:

  • double-spaced, with pages numbered consecutively
  • in Arial, Courier or Times New Roman font | 12 point size
  • saved as ‘Manuscript  Title – Your Name’
  • submitted electronically as a Microsoft Word document via the web site
  • manuscripts must be submitted by 11:59pm, January 19, 2017

Terms and Conditions:

  • No part of a prize is exchangeable for cash or any other prize
  • The prize will not be transferable to another person
  • The Prize is  not open to employees (or members of their immediate families) of the Emirates Literature Foundation
  • By entering the Prize, the winner agrees to participate in such promotional activity and material as Emirates Airline Festival of Literature may require
  • While the Literary Agent will give advice to the author at their luncheon, the Literary Agent will be under no obligation whatsoever to represent the winning entry
  • The winner must be available to travel to London Book Fair 14-16 March 2017 and provide their own visa and travel insurance. Please note that travel to and from the airport and meals during the stay are the winner’s responsibility and do not form part of the prize.
  • The judge’s decision is final and he cannot engage with entrants for future editorial work or respond to email communications
  • The winner will be announced during the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2017
  • The winner must be available to attend the prize-giving event in Dubai between 3-11 March
  • All entries will be read by Bonomi Associates

* WHAT CONSTITUTES A PUBLISHED NOVEL: For the purpose of this Prize, a ‘Published Novel’ means a work of fiction of at least 40,000 words in length that has been published or distributed, in part or whole, in paper or electronic format or in any other medium, excluding, however, self-published works.


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