Commonword Memoir Competition 2013 Winner… Ashleigh Nugent

Commonword Memoir Competition Winner Announcement

Congratulations to… Ashleigh Nugent

Commonword is delighted to announce the winner of the 2013 Competition is  Ashleigh Nugent, for his text, Locks.


The 2013 judges were: Dr Ursula Hurley, Professor Brenda Cooper, author, Elaine Feinstein and Commonword’s Artistic Director, Pete Kalu.

We thank our partners and everyone who entered and especially the shortlisted candidates including those who participated in the ‘Pitching’ event on Saturday 12th October.


More to follow…

The three pitching competition judges, Ursula Hurley, Brenda Cooper and Elaine Feinstein.



Winner Ash Nugent with cheque
Winner Ash Nugent collects his cheque!



The following entries have been shortlisted.  Congratulations to the authors!

A Comrade’s Daughter.

One In A Million – The Diary of a Neutropenic.

No Blue Memories.


The Trials and Triumphs of Teaching Teenagers.

Child of Venus.

Learning To Get Wet.


Beach and 2 persons
Memoir Sepia

Commonword Memoir Writing Competition

Beach and 2 persons
sepia image (c) 2013


The Search For The Northern Seven!

Memoir/Autobiographical Writing Competition 2013

Win £150 & have your fledgling Memoir or Autobiography ‘hothoused’ by Crocus Books

The search is on to find the best budding memoir or autobiography writer in the North of England in our latest competition for writers.

This time we are searching for the best opening three chapters from a previously unpublished memoir or autobiography.

The winner will get £150 and their own writing mentor to help them get their autobiography / memoir to publishable standard.

Six other promising writers identified through the competition will be provided with significant assistance with their writing.

The competition welcomes submissions of any form of memoir or autobiography, from all writers living or working in the North of England. It’s very difficult for new writers to get their first pieces published – this competition provides a rare break for fledgling writers.

By running this competition, Commonword hopes to assist new writers in avoiding the frustration and pitfalls that come with developing a   autobiography or memoir.

Crocus have already launched the careers of several North West based authors, including Rachel Connor, Brigid Rose, Cath Staincliffe, Sherry Ashworth and Mike Duff. The last novel competition winner, Rachel Connor praised the competition for helping her achieve a lifelong ambition. Her novel, Sisterwives, a compelling tale of love, faith and redemption, was published by our imprint, Crocus, to much acclaim and is now on its second print run.


How the Competition Works

Entries can be any form of memoir or autobiography.

Entrants should send the following:


  • A two page synopsis – comprising a story outline and details of main characters and themes.
  • The first three chapters or 9000 words (whichever is the shorter) of their text.



Judging Process

Initial long-listing will be done by Crocus editors. Final selection will be done by: Commonword’s Artistic Director, Pete Kalu and creative writing tutors, Professor Brenda Cooper, and Salford University’s Dr Ursula Hurley.

The winner will receive £150, detailed feedback on their work and the chance to work on their text with the assistance of an experienced  writing mentor/editor.


The six runners-up will receive detailed feedback on their work and the opportunity to have a session with a mentor/editor.

Four of the seven will be invited to participate in the October 2013 public reading & pitching competition run by Commonword in association with Manchester Literature Festival called, ‘Is There A Memoir Writer In The House?’


Deadline for entries:  30 June 2013

How to enter

It costs £15 (waged) or £10 (unwaged) to enter the competition. For further details and an entry form either:


Print out an follow the entry form or send an SAE to:


Crocus First Chapter Memoir Competition, Commonword, 6 Mount Street, Manchester, M2 5NS.


or email us at, with ‘Crocus Autobiography/Memoir  Competition’ as the subject of the email before submission. Further details and an electronic entry form will be provided.



Rules of Entry


  1. You should submit the first three chapters or 9000 words (whichever is the shorter) of your text.
  2. Each submission should be accompanied by an entry fee of £15/10.
  3. Closing date for receipt of entries is 30 June 2013.
  4.  You must live or work in the North of England to enter this Competition.
  5. You must not have had a novel, memoir or autobiography published before.
  6. All work must  be your own original work and must be previously unpublished.

Postal Entries

7.  All entries  should be typed and printed in black ink on one side only of A4 paper.  Pages should be securely fastened together.

8.    Do NOT print your name anywhere on the chapters

9.   Give your text  a working title

10. Place your name and address, post code, contact telephone number and email address on a covering page or use the entry form.

Email Entries

  1. Email us at before submission, for an electronic entry form.
  2. A request for payment will be emailed once submission is received
  3. Email submission will only be entered into the competition once payment is received.

 Make sure you keep copies of all work submitted. We will NOT return work.

If you would like us to acknowledge receipt of your entry please send a SAE marked ‘Receipt’, or provide us with an email address. To know the names of the winners, please enclose a SAE marked ‘Results’.

 Copyright in the chapters remains with individual entrants.

The judges’ decision is final. Entry in the competition will be deemed to be unqualified acceptance of these rules.

Previous winners of Crocus’s ‘First Three Chapters’ or ‘First Chapter’ competition are not eligible to apply.










Entry Form For Printing Out:

I wish to enter the Crocus  Memoir Competition 2013


Working Title of Memoir/Autobiography:…………………………………………………………………..


 I enclose a cheque or postal order for  £15(waged) £10 (unwaged).


Name: ……………………………………………


Address: ………………………………………..




Postcode: ………………………………………


Tel No.: ………………………………………….




I enclose a synopsis and the first three chapters of my memoir

I confirm that this is my own work and previously unpublished


Please notify me of receipt by email

I enclose an SAE marked ‘Receipt’

I enclose an SAE marked ‘Results’



I enclose a cheque/postal order for £ …..         made payable to Commonword


Please return to: Commonword, 6 Mount Street, Manchester M2 5NS



When Saira Met Sarah

Commonword is excited to announce a competition to find 12 women writers of Muslim and Jewish background to take part in a new anthology:


This anthology is intended to be both a celebration of new writing and those things Muslims and Jews have in common – it’s a co-existence project between the pages of a book.

We are looking for twelve women from the north-west of England who are over 18 and have not yet had their work published, or do not have a significant publishing history.

The winners will be mentored by Sherry Ashworth (Jewish) and Anjum Malik (Muslim.)  Sherry is a successful novelist and publisher; Anjum is a critically acclaimed poet and playwright.  They will help the chosen writers to produce new pieces of work for the anthology, either prose or verse.

Mentoring will take place both face to face and by email.

The selected writing will be published in 2014.

If you want to be considered for this project, please send a sample of your creative writing by e-mail to:

The sample should be either up to 40 lines of verse or 1,500 words of prose – perhaps an extract from a story or novel, but not journalism.  Please include a covering letter telling us a little about yourself.

saira-sarah flyer low resThe closing date for entries is 30th April 2013.