Terms and Conditions to submit for the Fern Academy Prize

Terms and Conditions

  1. By applying for the Fern Academy Prize, each applicant agrees to be bound by these terms and conditions (Terms and Conditions).
  2. The Fern Academy Prize is open to all writers aged 18 years or over (Applicant), except for the permanent employees (including their families) of The Random House Group Limited or associated companies of the Penguin Random House group (Promoter).


  1. There is no fee for applying for the Fern Academy Prize. The application window opens on 2 April 2024 and the closing date for the submission and receipt of all applications is 23.59 BST on 29 April 2024 (Closing Date).
  2. Applicant must:
    • (i). complete all sections of the application form on the Fern Academy Prize submission
      sheet at www.penguin.co.uk/fernacademyprize and review the Penguin Privacy Policy.
    • (ii) submit through the Penguin website/Fern Academy Prize webpage, at www.penguin.co.uk/fernacademyprize their non-fiction essay in full, which should be between 3,000–6,000 words, in a Word or PDF format, of literary merit and of an international and multicultural interest, and written in the English language.
  3. All Submissions must be the original work of the Applicant. If Applicant is unable to produce its Submission without third party assistance, the Applicant must fully disclose the nature (including name of the third party) and extent of that assistance.
  4. Subject to the following, Submissions must be previously unpublished works of nonfiction, on any subject or genre. Applicant must not be currently represented by a literary agent nor have previously written a book-length work published under a valid ISBN. The exception to this is where Applicant has either been published: (i) as part of an anthology; and/or (ii) via self-publishing.
  5. Submissions received after the Closing Date will not be considered. Promoter is not responsible for illegible, incomplete, delayed, corrupted, malfunctioning, unreadable or lost Submissions. Submissions sent by email, post or any other format or medium other than via the Fern Academy Prize webpage will not be accepted. Applicant should only submit copies of their work and should keep backups for their own files.
  6. By applying for the Fern Academy Prize, Applicant warrants that all information submitted as part of its application and Submission is true, current and complete.
  7. All valid Submissions will be assessed by a judging panel (Judging Panel) made up of individuals with publishing expertise within Promoter’s organisation, a representative of Tortoise Media and at least one independent judge. The Judging Panel will then select one winner and up to 5 runners up. The winner will be the entry that in the opinion of the judges is of literary merit with an international and multicultural interest, which interrogates on a micro or macro scale the human experience and the times we live in.
  8. Runners up and the winner shall be notified by email by 18 June 2024.
  9. One (1) winner will be announced publicly no later than 6 July 2024.
  10. The winner must claim their prize within 30 days of the Promoter sending notification. If the prize is unclaimed after this time, it will lapse and the Promoter reserves the right to offer the unclaimed prize to a substitute winner selected in accordance with these rules.
  11. Promoter regrets that Submissions cannot be returned and it will not be able to give feedback on individual entries other than that to be provided to the successful applicants during subsequent mentoring sessions.
  12. All decisions of the Judging Panel are final and not subject to appeal.
  13. For the avoidance of doubt, Promoter is under no obligation to select the maximum number of runners up or a winner if it is felt that not enough of the Submissions are of a sufficient quality.
  14. Notwithstanding anything set forth in these terms and conditions if, in the sole opinion of the Promoter, none of the entries are of a sufficiently high standard to merit the winner’s prize, such prize shall not be awarded but shall instead be substituted with 10 books of the winner’s choice which are published in the UK by the Promoter.
  15. The Prize for one winner is:
    • £3,000 cash prize
    • publication of their winning essay on the Tortoise Media website – publication date to be confirmed;
    • literary representation by RCW literary agent Laurence Laluyaux;
    • a five-night writing course run by How To Academy’s sister company, Unmissable Courses. The course will take place within 12 months of the winner being announced on dates and times to be confirmed;
    • an appearance on How To Academy’s biweekly podcast; and
    • mentorship from a Penguin Random House UK editor on dates and times to be mutually agreed.
      • Runners up will be announced entries worthy of being shortlisted but will not receive further prizes.
      • The writing course will take place in a location to be confirmed by the Promoter.
      • The winner will be solely responsible for arranging all travel and paying all travel costs to and from the writing course (including flights if applicable) offered as part of the prize. Any passport, travel documents or VISA requirements to attend the course will be the winner’s responsibility to organise. Accommodation will only be provided for the five nights of the writing course itself. Accommodation outside of this period will be the winner’s responsibility to organise and pay for.
      • In the event that the winner cannot make the agreed dates for the writing course, no alternative dates will be possible and the Promoter reserves the right to offer the prize to a substitute winner.
      • Mentorship from a Penguin Random House UK editor will either take place in person or virtually (to be confirmed). If in person, travel to and from the Penguin Random House UK offices in London and any accommodation required must be paid for and organised by the winner (including flights if applicable) and any passport, travel documents or VISA requirements to attend the course will be the winner’s responsibility to organise. If virtually, the winner must ensure they have sufficient internet access. The Promoter will not be responsible for any technological or connectivity problems and no other times and dates for mentorship sessions will be possible should this occur.
      • Other than those specified above, the promoter shall not be liable for any costs or expenses arising out of or in any way connected with this prize and does not accept any responsibility for any damage, loss or disappointment suffered by the winner as result of accepting this prize.
  16. For the avoidance of doubt, mentorship from a Penguin Random House UK editor shall not be interpreted as a representation or commitment to publish any works submitted to the Fern Academy Prize.
  17. Other than those specified above or in the information relating to the Fern Academy Prize contained on the Fern Academy Prize website or as will be expressly communicated to the Applicant from time to time, Promoter shall not be liable for any costs or expenses arising out of or in any way connected with Applicant’s participation in the Fern Academy Prize and does not accept any responsibility for any damage (excluding personal injury or death as a result of Promoter’s negligence), loss or disappointment suffered by the winner as result of accepting the prize.
  18. None of the elements of this opportunity may be transferred by the winner and no alternative (cash or otherwise) will be available or offered.
  19. By applying for the Fern Academy Prize, Applicant confirms that: (i) their Submission is an original, wholly-owned, creation and to the extent that such entry makes use of any third party materials, that these have been fully cleared unless they are no longer protected by copyright or other intellectual property rights; and (ii) the Submission contains nothing that is illegal, obscene, discriminatory or of a defamatory nature. Applicant will keep Promoter harmless from any claims that their submitted materials infringe the personal or proprietary right of any other person.
  20. The copyright in any Submission shall remain vested in the Applicant. In consideration for Promoter agreeing to consider Applicant for the Fern Academy Prize, each Applicant grants Promoter a non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide licence to reproduce, distribute and/or make available the Submission in whole or in part: (i) as part of the Judging Panel’s adjudication processes; (ii) to Tortoise Media for publication on its website; and (iii) in promotional, marketing or reporting materials (whether print or electronic) relating to the Fern Academy Prize.
  21. Events may occur that render the Fern Academy Prize impossible to fulfil due to reasons beyond the control of Promoter. Should those events occur Promoter may, at its absolute discretion, vary, amend, suspend or cancel the Fern Academy Prize and shall provide notice to all applicants of proposed variations, amendments, suspensions or cancellations.
  22. Promoter may disqualify an Applicant in the following circumstances: (i) Promoter has reasonable grounds to believe Submission does not comply with these Terms and Conditions; (ii) Promoter has reasonable grounds to believe the actions of the Applicant are fraudulent, dishonest, criminal or unjust to other Applicants including, without limitation, tampering with the operation of the competition, manipulating or rigging votes, hacking, deceiving, using multiple accounts to submit multiple entries, cheating or by harassing or threatening other entrants, the panel or a representative of Promoter;
  23. We will make the winner’s name and county available on request to the following email address shayes1@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk (please state the name of the competition in the subject heading 10 weeks after the closing date). If you do not want your name and county to be made available in the event that you win, please let us know by emailing shayes1@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk. Please note we are required to make the winner’s details available to the ASA if requested.
  24. By entering this competition, all entrants agree to the use of their personal data by the Promoter for the purposes of running the competition as detailed in these terms and conditions. Details on how we process the personal data of entrants can be found in our Privacy Policy.
  25. These Terms and Conditions are governed by the laws of England and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

Promoter Contact:
Fern Academy Prize manager: Sean Hayes
Email: shayes1@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk
Post: Sean Hayes, VINTAGE – The Random House Group Limited, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 2SA

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