How to get £2,000 from your summer break (even if you didn’t go anywhere)


London’s The Spectator, as it does every year, is offering you good money to write about your travels, Clarissa Tan reports for the newspaper. What’s more, our £2,000 Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize — named after the late Trinidad-born writer and brother of VS Naipaul — is not awarded for travel writing in the conventional sense. You need not have gone anywhere highly exotic or far away: the prize is for ‘the most acute and profound observation of a culture alien to the writer.’

You can write from outer space or from your back garden, what we’re looking for is writing that is fresh, current, different, intelligent, incisive, witty, sad or funny — or all of those things. Besides the cash prize, the winner will also get his or her entry published in our Christmas issue. Our judges this year include travel writers Robert Macfarlane, author of The Wild Places and The Old Ways, and Miranda France.

The Shiva Naipaul prize is open to everyone across the globe. It is one of the foremost travel-writing awards of today, with a proud tradition: our first-ever winner, in 1987, was a budding novelist called Hilary Mantel.

More details below:

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 £2,000. The winning entry will be published in The Spectator’s special triple Christmas issue this year.


1. The award is open to English language writers of any nationality under the age of 35 on the closing date of entries. It is for non-fiction writing.

2. Submissions should not previously have been published. They should be no more than 3,000 words, though there is no obligation for writers to make their essays approach that length.

3. Entries must reach The Spectator by 25 October 2013. No entries will be accepted after 0000 GMT 26 October.

4. Entries will not be returned and no correspondence concerning entries can be entered into.

5. In all matters concerning the competition the editor’s decision is final.

6. The judges this year include the writers Robert Macfarlane and Miranda France, 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

Find out more about the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize, and read past winning entries, at our website:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s