Bodley Head/FT Essay Prize 2016

Prize-winning essays from our writing competition

The Bodley Head/Financial Times Essay Prize aims to discover young talent from around the world in long-form essay writing, and has led to many new and exciting opportunities for winners and runners-up. Hedley Twidle, winner of the very first prize, is now a regular contributor to the FT and other outlets including the New Statesman. Adnan Sarwar, 2013’s winner, has written widely for the press in the UK. Edward Posnett won in 2014 for his essay ‘Eiderdown’ and has his first book, Harvest, due for publication with The Bodley Head in 2017. Last year’s winner, Laurence Blair, has also recently been signed up by The Bodley Head to write his first book, which expands on his 2015 prize-winning essay ‘Dreams of the sea’.

“FT Weekend is immensely proud of its sponsorship of the essay prize,” says Alec Russell, editor of FT Weekend. “The essay and long-form journalism more broadly have happily defied many doom-laden predictions and are flourishing in digital forms. But in an age of ‘churnalism’ and ‘post-fact’ politics the quest for finding and nurturing new writers is all the more important.”

2016 winner: ‘Cash and curry’

Rick Stein in India © Denhams

Chris Newens on how demonetisation and a TV chef inspired an unlikely Indian pilgrimage

2015 winner: ‘Dreams of the sea’

Laurence Blair on Bolivia’s battle to reclaim its lost coastline — and the extraordinary backup plan taking shape 2,000km away from the ocean

2014 winner: ‘Upside of down’

Edward Posnett explores the links between Icelanders, ducks and capitalism

2013 winner: ‘British Muslim Soldier’

As a British Pakistani boy growing up in Burnley, Lancashire, Adnan Sarwar endured racial abuse. Here he explores what led him to join the Army

2012 winner: ‘Getting past Coetzee’

Hedley Twidle on his life as a South African academic working in the shadow of the Man Booker-winning author

Simon Schama: ‘Why I write’

To launch the inaugural Bodley Head/FT Essay Prize, Simon Schama reveals why Dickens’ abundance and Orwell’s severity are equally inspiring

Deadline for submissions is January 29 2017 (midnight GMT). Please enter using our application form, where you can also upload your essay

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