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The 2012 Shiva Naipaul prize

10 August 2012

6:03 PM

10 August 2012

6:03 PM

When I won the first Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize, it was gratifying for me on every level. It helped me find a market for my work in the national press, and gave me the confidence to regard myself as a full-time writer. – Hilary Mantel.

The Shiva Naipaul prize is awarded to the writer best able to describe a visit to a foreign place or people. The award will not be for travel writing in the conventional sense, but for the most acute and profound observation of a culture alien to the writer. Such a culture might be found as easily within the writer’s native country as outside it. The winner will receive a cash prize of £3,000. The winning entry will be published in The Spectator.

The award is open to English language writers of any nationality under the age of 35 on the closing date of entries (30 October). Submissions should not previously have been published and should be no more than 3,000 words.  Judges this year include the writers Colin Thubron and Joanna Kavenna, and the literary editor of The Spectator Mark Amory.

Entry Procedure

1.     Entries should be typed double-spaced.

2.     Entrants must give the following details on a separate sheet of paper: surname and forenames; complete address; date of birth.

3.     Entries should be addressed to: Clarissa Tan, The Spectator, 22 Old Queen Street, London SW1H 9HP, UK or emailed to

To refer to previous winning entries for the Shiva Naipaul prize, including Hilary Mantel’s essay on Saudi Arabia in 1987, click here.

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