Photo of women reading at a book club for First Chapter article

First Chapter

Now in its 12th year, our annual Women’s Prize × Grazia First Chapter competition, which the Women’s Prize delivers in partnership with Grazia magazine provides a starting point for first-time writers and seeks the next literary star. Every year, we ask a renowned author to provide the first 100 words of a story and first-time writers are invited to complete it. The author and editors at Grazia judge the competition, and the winner receives a year’s mentorship from an author, a tutored Arvon course and an invitation to the Women’s Prize for Fiction Awards Ceremony in London.

Previous First Chapter Competition authors have included Rosamund Lupton, Kate Mosse, Rachel Joyce, Sarah Waters, Jojo Moyes, Marian Keyes, Maggie O’Farrell, Paula Hawkins, Gail Honeyman and Diana Evans. 

First Chapter 2022 launched with a wonderfully intriguing story started by Tayari Jones, former winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Click here to read Tayari’s starting paragraph and for further details on this year’s competition.

Our 2021 winner was Naomi George, who impressed the judges with how she how set up a promising tale with a twist. You can read her winning story, with author Dorothy Koomson’s starting paragraph, here. On winning the competition, Naomi George said: “I’ve written since I was a kid but I didn’t think that it was for me to be a published writer. But after 2020, I thought I would just try because you never know. . . And I did, and I won First Chapter, and so it means so much. I am being mentored by Dorothy Koomson, who is an amazing bestselling author. It’s an incredible opportunity.”

With a prize package designed to further develop writing skills and confidence through mentorship, First Chapter is a great way to kick-start your writing career, as well as experiencing the buzz of getting your work published. Former First Chapter winners have gone on to have flourishing writing careers, like Luan Goldie, whose first novel Nightingale Point was published in 2019. 

Interested in entering and looking for some creative tips to get the ball rolling? Scroll on for some writing features ­– or watch Dorothy Koomson and fellow judge Emma Rowley chatting in an inspiring IG Live here