The Financial Times and The Bodley Head announce their sixth annual essay prize

The Bodley Head

The Financial Times and The Bodley Head, an imprint of Penguin Random House, are proud to launch our sixth annual essay prize.

The prize aims to discover young talent from around the world in long-form essay writing. The prize has led to many new and exciting opportunities for winners and runners-up. Hedley Twidle, winner of the first Bodley Head FT Essay Prize, is now a regular contributor to the FT. Edward Posnett won in 2014 for his essay ‘Eiderdown’ and has his first book, Harvest, due for publication with The Bodley Head in 2019. And 2015’s winner, Laurence Blair, has also been signed up by The Bodley Head to write his first book, which expands on his essay, ‘Dreams of the Sea’, and will be published in 2020.

This competition is open to anyone between 18 and 35 years old. Judges will be looking for a dynamic, authoritative and lively essay of no more than 3,500 words in English. It can be journalistic, a case study, wide-ranging or minutely focused. In keeping with the ethos of both sponsors, it can address any topic — from finance and current affairs to history and scientific discovery. We aren’t looking for a particular subject; we’re simply looking for writing that brings its subject alive, and turns the reader’s head with its style.

Deadline for submissions is Thursday 31 May 2018 (22:00 UK time).

The winner will receive:

  • £1000 and an e-publication with The Bodley Head
  • Publication of their winning essay in the Financial Times and on
  • A mentoring session with The Bodley Head and Financial Times
  • A subscription to, and a selection of books from The Bodley Head

Two runners up will win:

  • £500 each and an e-publication with The Bodley Head
  • A digital subscription to Weekend FT, and a bag of books from The Bodley Head

Stuart Williams, Publishing Director, The Bodley Head says:

"Reading the entries for this prize has become an annual treat – both a revealing barometer for what is on writers’ minds and a window on what they are responding to in the world. It’s an inspiring, bracing process and we’re looking forward to being challenged, inspired and surprised."

Alec Russell, Editor, FT Weekend says:

“FT Weekend is immensely proud of its sponsorship of the essay prize. The essay and long-form journalism have happily defied many doom-laden predictions and are flourishing. But in our age of ‘churnalism’ the quest to find new writers is all the more important.”

Visit to submit your essay and for further information, including Terms & Conditions. You can follow the competition using #BHFTessaycomp

For further information please contact:

Joe Pickering

Penguin Random House

+4420 7840 8438

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