Grazia UK has once again teamed up with the Women’s Prize for Fiction to host the annual First Chapter competition. This is the chance for female writers to kick-start their writing careers and to give their writing some exposure. Each year, the compensation has a well known author write an opening paragraph of a story, and then it’s up to those who enter to write what happens next.
For this year’s competition, Gail Honeyman, author of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, has written the first paragraph and now entrees can be submitted. You can continue the story in anyway you see fit, as long as your piece is between 800-1,000 words and is submitted by Tuesday 21 May. Whoever wins will be invited to the Women’s Prize for Fiction awards party in June, and they’ll then have their work exposed to the biggest names in literature.
The first paragraph reads: “Helen was awake now. Unlike her real phone, the landline hardly ever rang. The sound reminded her of childhood; for years, her parents had kept theirs on a special teak table in the hall. It had a green velvet-cushioned seat, and there was a drawer for dried-up pens, directories and, most importantly, the family address book. Leather-bound, A souvenir from Fuengirola, it held the contact details of everyone they’d ever interacted with, regularly and ruthlessly updated in five different sets of handwriting. She could still picture her mum sitting there, ankles neatly crossed, still hear her dad answering calls with a recitation of their home number. Helen reached across for the handset, saw that it displayed a number with the same area code as her own. Something – she’d wonder what, later – made her press the green button. ‘Hello?’ she said.” So, how would YOU continue the story?
Those who wish to enter need only submit their entries Emma Rowley, Grazia, Academic House, 24-28 Oval Road, London NW1 7DT, or send them via email to email@example.com. Winner’s will meet with a senior Penguin Random House editor and be given a goodie bag. Their chapter published in Grazia and they will also be invited to the awards ceremony on 5 June in London to pick up their award. A pair of runners-up will also have their chapters published on graziadaily.co.uk. All three winners will receive the six Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018 shortlisted books.