Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I’ve entered this competition last year but I have reworked my novel, can I submit it for the 2018 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize?

A. Yes.

Q. My piece is a short story.  Can I enter it?

A. No, this competition is not open to short stories.

Q. What format should my synopsis take?

A. There is no fixed format for the synopsis - this is left to the discretion of the writer.  The synopsis might be a detailed breakdown of the remainder of the plot or a written sketch that gives the flavour/ overview. 

Q. I notice the synopses on your website, from previous shortlisters, are much shorter than the 5-10 pages in the guidelines.  Why is this? 

A. The judges found that the shorter synopsis length did not give enough detail about the writer’s vision for the whole novel, hence the judges request for a longer synopsis.  (Occasionally shortlisters have requested for a shorter version of the synopsis to be used on the website, especially as they move towards publication of their first novel!) You are strongly advised to make you synopsis as close to the minimum of 5 pages as you can.

Q. I only have a working title at the moment.  Does this matter?

 A. No.  The title helps with the administration.  If you reach the later stages of the competition you will have the opportunity to amend the title if you want to.

Q. I can’t see any information about anonymising my entry.  Is it ok to have my name on the entry?

A. There is no need to anonymise your entry.  You can, if you wish, include a header or footer with your name and working title, though this is optional. But please remember to include page numbers though!

Q. I can’t get my payment to go through/ I don’t get re-directed to PayPal to make my payment- what can I do?

 A. It’s worth trying another internet browser eg Chrome or Firefox.  Don’t worry if it takes a couple of goes to complete the submission and payment (duplicate entries are deleted from the system).  You’ll get an automated “thank-you for your entry” email – any concerns get in touch executiveassistant@lucy-cav.cam.ac.uk.  All entry fees need to be received by the 12 noon February deadline for the entry to be considered. 

Q. I don’t have a PayPal account. What should I do?

A.  No problem, you can pay via PayPal without having a PayPal account, simply follow the instructions.

Q. I don’t have a card to use for online payment.  Can I pay the entry fee another way?

A. Yes – it is possible to pay via bank transfer. Please send a short email executiveassistant@lucy-cav.cam.ac.uk and I’ll send you the necessary payment information.  Please note that the entry fee must be received BEFORE the deadline, for the entry to be considered, so please allow time for your payment to be received and clear.

Q. I am using a card in a different name to pay my entry fee, how will you link the payment to my entry? 

A. The submissions received via the online system are given an ID number and this shows on the payment too (if made via the PayPal page) so there is no problem. 

Q. I’ve tried using various internet browsers but I still can’t get the submission form to work.  What can I do?

 A. Please send an email executiveassistant@lucy-cav.cam.ac.uk and further information will be sent to you ie for an email submission.

Q. I write under a pen name, can I include this on my entry? 

A. This information must be added to the entry form (both your legal name and your pen name) and you are welcome to use your pen name on your entry if you wish, this is optional.

Q. I have written a textbook/ children’s picture book/ short story/ poem which has been published.  Am I eligible to enter the start of my debut novel for this competition?

A. Yes.  Provided that you have not had a novel published, for the purposes of this competition you are considered an unpublished novelist and therefore eligible to enter, if you meet the other criteria.

Q. I am British but I’m currently living overseas, can I enter?

A. No.  To be eligible to enter you need to be living in the UK or Ireland (nationality is not relevant). 

Q. I have published chapters of my novel on my blog/ self-published.  Can I still enter? 

A. Yes as only part of the novel is available.  However, please note if your whole novel is available on-line or in-print the novel would NOT be eligible for entry.

Q. I have published an entire book on my website/blog/ self-published via Amazon etc – however this is a different novel.  Can I enter this different novel to the competition?

A. Yes

Q.  I have submitted my novel to another competition.  Can I enter it for the Lucy Cavendish Prize too?

A.Yes.  (Even if you have won another competition with the same novel, as long as it remains unpublished online or in print and you do not have agent representation)

Q. I can’t upload PDF files. Can I send Word documents (.doc or .docx) instead?

A. Yes, these will be converted to PDF files before being sent to the judges (PDF files are preferred if possible – sometimes the formatting goes awry in the conversion!).

Q. My files are too big or the file title too long for the online submission.  What can I do? 

A. Please send an email executiveassistant@lucy-cav.cam.ac.uk  

Q. I haven’t finished writing my novel.  Can I still enter?

A. Yes– you need only have completed the first 40-50 pages and have a synopsis of the remainder (5-10 pages) to enter.

Q. Is there a maximum or minimum number of words?

A. No (but remember short stories are not eligible for this competition).

Q. I have a question not covered in this list.  What should I do?

A. Please get in touch -  email: executiveassistant@lucy-cav.cam.ac.uk