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Last chance for the Shiva Naipaul Prize 2012

26 October 2012

10:29 AM

26 October 2012

10:29 AM

Hilary Mantel recently won her second Booker Prize, having clinched two Bookers in a row, the latest for the second book of a planned trilogy – surely a first. As we never tire of mentioning here at the Spectator, Hilary was the inaugural winner of our Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize, back in 1987. Her stunning essay, on living a strange, segregated life in Saudi Arabia, can be found here.

The Shiva Naipaul prize, named after the late great Trinidadian author and brother of VS Naipaul, celebrates travel writing but not in the conventional sense. It is awarded every year to an essay that gives the most acute and profound observation of a culture alien to the writer. Hilary, in a blog she wrote for us in July, says the spirit of the prize is to be ‘original, incisive and unafraid’ in one’s writing.

Nor is Hilary the only luminary among former prizewinners – John Gimlette, our 1997 recipient, was lauded with the Dolman prize earlier this year for his travel book Wild Coast. Miranda France, our 1996 winner, has published four books. Our 2000 victor Mary Wakefield, whose essay was about trying to seduce an American televangelist, is now the Spectator’s deputy editor, writing this week’s scorching piece on the plight of Christians fleeing Syria.

So what are you waiting for? The closing date for entries is October 30. You will find the rules and procedures below, and Fraser elaborates on the competition here.
The Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize 2012/2013
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.
  • Submissions should not previously have been published and should be no more than 3,000 words.
  • Entries must reach The Spectator by 30 October 2012.
  • Entries will not be returned and no correspondence concerning entries can be entered into.
  • In all matters concerning the competition the editor’s decision is final.
  • The judges this year include the writers Colin Thubron and Joanna Kavenna, and the literary editor of The Spectator Mark Amory.
Entry Procedure
  • Entries should be typed double-spaced.
  • Entrants must give the following details on a separate sheet of paper: surname and forenames; complete address; date of birth.
  • Entries should be addressed to: Clarissa Tan, The Spectator, 22 Old Queen Street, London SW1H 9HP, UK or emailed to out more about the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize from our website:

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