The Curae Prize: what you can win and how to enter!

A writing prize – just for writers who are also carers

Photo by Disha Sheta on

The rules!


To enter the Curae Prize, you need to be a carer – and there is a helpful definition from the NHS on the Curae home page. I am not keen to ask for evidence of your role, but please do consider whether this is the right competition for you in that way. You should currently be in a caring role. Entrants should, for this first year, be over 18 and resident in the UK or ROI in whatever capacity*. I hope that next year we will be able to extend what we do so that there is a separate award for young carers – those under 18, of whom there are, according to the Children’s Society, an estimated 800,000 alone.

*We deliberated and made a slight change here. Some UK and ROI residents have to go abroad for an extended period to provide care. They are ALSO eligible.

Either a short story of up to 4,000 words OR

A piece of non-fiction or creative non-fiction (and you can email me, Anna, using the email address on the contact page if you are unsure about thus) of up to 4,000.

Please do not enter in both categories.

Please identify your work with a trigger warning if necessary – that is, if it contains potentially distressing material.

The short story can be something suitable for YA readers, but not for a younger demographic in this first year.

Please send as an attachment ONLY to the email address at top – no postal entries – and please ensure that YOUR NAME DOES NOT APPEAR ON YOUR ENTRY AS ALL WORK WILL BE JUDGED ANONYMOUSLY. Please send as a Word doc. If you talk about entering your work on social media, please do not identify it by title or precise description of its content. Please ensure that your work is titled in your email and on your entry so we can make a note of it. Please double space and use any readable font. Also tell us if you have a specific learning difficulty which has impacted on spelling and planning and whether you identify as belonging to an additionally under-represented group, as we have additional mentoring opportunities.

Entries can be sent in from 1st of January, 2023; the closing date for the competition is 1st March and a shortlist will be announced 1st May with two winners announced on the 1st June.

WORK SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED IN ANY FORM INCLUDING ONLINE AS PART OF A PERSONAL BLOG. However, you CAN base your piece on a larger work which you are currently querying with an agent or small publisher. It should not be an extract and neither should it be under contract.

There will an online showcase of all shortlisted writers and a special agent session for them, but there may be extra prizes – and more added as we go along – because everyone in the industry has been spectacularly generous. There will also be additional reads for those who identify as from a marginalised group. PLEASE IDENTIFY IN A COVERING EMAIL THAT YOU ARE FROM AN ADDITIONALLY UNDER-REPRESENTED GROUP.

Michael, Elissa, Amy and I – and everyone involved more broadly in this competition – truly understand that you will have things you want from this competition. You do NOT, for that reason, have to partake of all the prizes, as being heard and the bursary may be enough for you, for example. We all get it.

I hope you really enjoy writing for this and, if life is tough, that it gives you a boost; focus – the sense that you are seen and heard. I know that, over the past few years in particular, I would not have been able to cope without the encouragement of a little band of people in the publishing and writing gangs – and that’s what I am passing on to you. Please do not think you have to write in depth every day, or even write every day; just build it up gradually – little by little (thinking is the work, too): THIS is why there is such a long lead time between my announcing this new prize and when the competition opens.

Much love,