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

A writing prize – just for writers who are also carers

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Welcome to The Curae

Hello everyone. My name is Anna Vaught and I am a novelist and teacher. I have also, at various times in my life, including while I was writing my books, been a carer. The last few years have been extremely challenging.

Oh, but this is not about me.

It is about you.

You might be a writer or perhaps you want to write; you hope to be published, or perhaps you already have been but you truly need support. I understand. I have always felt that writing – and creativity more broadly – can be at the core of who we are; they’re not a luxury but at the centre of your life, sustaining you, keeping you well and refreshed. This does not mean that life will be easy – and that I understand – but there are things we can do.

I have got together with various people in the publishing industry to put together a new prize. There will be two categories – and thus two winners – and it will launch in January, 2023. You will be able to enter a short story or piece of non-fiction – or creative non-fiction – of up to 4,000 words and I will ask you not to identify your work so that it is judged blind. There will be one winner in each category and the prizes are amazing. You can, of course, write about the experience of caring, but this is entirely up to you. You could write about anything! You may already be a writer or published; you may not have written before. Poetry and playscripts are not eligible this year.


*Please READ ALL THREE PAGES OF THIS SITE CAREFULLY, then, simply send your work – double spaced and any readable font 12 point – as an attachment to


*PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK THE RULES on the About page. DO NOT put your name on the document, but do identify it by name in your email. Over 18 and UK and ROI residents only (BUT please see the rules for more on this.) If you have a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia or dyspraxia, please do not let this put you off. My background is in education and I am reading for style and content and can see past anomalies or spelling or planning. Also, if you identify as belonging to an additionally under-represented group, please say so in your email because we have additional mentoring options regardless of whether you are shortlisted or win.

IT IS FREE TO ENTER AND NO POINT IS THERE ANY COST TO YOU. You also retain full rights to your work – copyright and as for the prizes, there is a bursary for each of the two winners, but no cash alternative to any of the other things offered. I will help entrants sort through and plan prizes – take some; take all – and you can take them over the course of a year. Do not worry about the organisation of this AT ALL.

PRIVACY POLICY: your work can remain anonymous and if you do not wish your work to be publicised, or to be publicly identified at its author, that’s FINE. |There is a separate privacy policy document to read on the site.


Now, for the purposes of clarity, when we say carer, we don’t mean someone in a parental role, although that may be part of it. I am using the NHS definition: – to summarise:

‘A carer is anyone, including children and adults who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction and cannot cope without their support. The care they give is unpaid.’

WHAT YOU CAN WIN and I will help winners sort out a schedule – which can be flexible – and you can take some or all of these over the course of a year. There is no cash prize alternative to the resources offered.

*A bursary of £500 for the winner of each category (short story and non-fiction/creative non-fiction) donated by author Lorraine Rogerson. This is likely to increase, as I am aware that others may also wish to contribute. And I say bursary, but that’s because it sounds fancier than ‘cash prize’. It is entirely up to you what you do with this!

*Three online writing workshops courtesy of The Arvon Foundation

*A place on clinical psychologist and writer Stephanie Carty’s Psychology of Character course with a 1-1 zoom follow up

*Mentoring with me!

*Special zoom workshop session for ALL shortlisted authors with Hannah Weatherill, fiction and book to screen agent at North Bank Talent

*3 mentoring sessions over up to 6 months, 5k manuscript extract (or shorter, depending on what you haver written) with bestselling crime writer, Sarah Hilary. This is specifically for a carer who is also chronically ill or disabled.

*Book coaching with Sarah Rigby, Director of leading independent publisher, Elliot and Thompson

*A year’s subscription to Mslexia magazine and a copy of the latest edition of their invaluable guide to indie presses

*Submissions advice with Will Dady, director of award-winning independent press, Renard

*Mentoring session with author Claire Allan

*£25 book token each courtesy of Jackie Fox

*3 mentoring sessions over up to 6 months, 5k manuscript extract (or shorter plus synopsis) each session with Zoom of 45 mins each time with author Sarah Hilary

*Agent 1-2-1 with Kate Johnson of Wolf Literary, NYC (Kate is my agent and I am putting on record that she and my agency have been uniquely supportive to me)

*Agent 1-2-1/mentoring with Jenny Savill, Managing Director of Andrew Nurnberg Ltd literary agency.

*Submissions advice and support from The Good Literary Agency – details to be confirmed as we are meeting this week

*Structural edit on a piece of work – it could be this one OR another short piece OR a longer work – from editor and Cheshire Prize creator, Sara Naidine Cox. Plus zoom follow-up

*Mentoring for a carer who identifies as LGTBQ from writer and lecturer (and one of the judges for the Curae) Michael Langan, the same from a carer who identifies as working class from Seanín Hughes, poet, writer and editor and novelist and novelist Jennie Godfrey. These may be shortlisted writers, winners or others entering the competition depending on demand.

*A beautiful curated reading list for each winner by bookworm and leading book blogger Clare ‘Years of Reading Selfishly’

*A place on author Melissa Addey’s self-publishing workshop at the British Library. It happens a few times a year in person or as a webinar – which is recorded so if you wish you can just work through it at your own pace.

*Something wonderful from Jericho Writers (to be confirmed)

I am absolutely delighted to tell you that judges on this prize will be THE WONDERFUL Michael Langan, Elissa Soave and Amy Lord. Between them there’s a wealth of writing – fiction, editing and non-fiction – and teaching. We all know what it is to be lifted up by others, and I shall talk more about that as we are underway. Others are coming forward to help with this prize too and it is a profound hope that, if it goes well, we extend the prize to young carers, aged under 18.

All shortlisted work will be showcased here, and I will publicise and draw attention to your work through social media channels and press interest – if this is what you want. We have thought of access all the way through, so you’ll see that even where something is in person, there is also an online option. I want you to know that if there are additional difficulties which you might have in engaging with a prize, from nervousness to SEN issues, you are welcome to share and we will work with that and adapt appropriately.

One more thing to share: many of those who have given prizes are or were carers or grew up around situations where a parent was also a carer: please know that we see you and we understand!

The Curae is a new literary prize dedicated to writer-carers