Win up to £1,000 Cash Prize for Essay Writers in the Bodley Head/Financial Times (FT) Essay Prize

Enter your essay written on any topic in the Bodley Head/Financial Times Essay Competition for a chance to be published and win the associated cash prize. 

Open to essay-writers from around the world between 18 and 35 years old, the winner will receive a monetary prize and an e-publication with The Bodley Head, a publication in the Financial Times of their winning essay and a mentoring session with The Bodley Head. 

Application Deadline: September 24, 2020.


Open the Table of Content Below

Click to see section


The following prizes will be awarded to winners in the Essay contest:

  • £1,000 (one thousand pounds Sterling) to the overall winning entrant
  • £300 (three hundred pounds Sterling) to each runner-up
  • Publication by the Financial Times in an FT publication (which may include on the website-
  • E-publication by the Promoter of the winner’s winning entry; e-publication by the Promoter of the two runners-up entries
  • A mentoring session for the winner with a member of the Promoter’s editorial staff


This Essay competition is open solely to individuals between 18 and 35 years old, as of Thursday, September 24, 2020. 


  • Entrants are advised to retain a copy of their entries as the submitted entries will not be returned. 
  • Entrants must not include their names on the body of their essays to ensure anonymity for the sake of a fair judging process.

Essay documents which include the entrant’s name will be disqualified.

  • Entrants will own and retain all copyright in their own entry.
  • There will be no acknowledgment of receipt for entries submitted by the post.
  • By entering this competition, entrants agree to accept and be bound by the stated terms and conditions and acknowledge that failure to comply with them may result in disqualification.
  • This competition is void in whatever regions where it is prohibited by local law. 

Entrants should ensure that they are able to participate in the competition in compliance with local laws and regulations.

  • The following set of people are not eligible to enter the contest:
    • Employees of The Random House Group Limited (“Promoter”)
    • Employees of the Financial Times Limited (the “Financial Times”)
    • Any group companies of the foregoing and their families and any other company connected with this competition. 
  • Only one entry per entrant will be accepted. Multiple or incomplete entries will be deemed invalid.
  • If the prize is declined or unclaimed by the winner, or if the winner cannot be contacted from the details supplied within 30 business days of notification, a replacement winner may be chosen at the Promoter’s discretion and will be notified by the Promoter. 
  • By submitting an entry, entrants warrant to the Financial Times and the Promoter that their entries are original to them, does not infringe a copyright or any other intellectual property right, and does not defame or invade the privacy rights of any third party, or infringe any other legal rights, regulations or laws.
  • The winning entrant and runners-up grant the Financial Times and the Promoter a non-exclusive, royalty-free worldwide, irrevocable license, for the full period of any intellectual property rights in the competition entry to use the publication of their entries in any Financial Times publication, including on and elsewhere at the Promoter’s discretion.
  • The winner and/or runners-up may be required to complete an eligibility form proving their age.
  • Entrants’ personal details will be collected by the Financial Times for the purposes of this competition and will be processed in accordance with any applicable data protection legislation and the FT privacy policy.
  • The prizes are non-transferable and non-refundable.

Free Worksheet and Checklist

Here at Camberene, we go the extra mile to make sure you win. So we have designed a beautiful checklist to help you keep track of your progress and make sure you’re doing things correctly.

It’s 100% FREE

Hit the download button to get it in your inbox ASAP.

Application Instructions

There is no fee to enter. To enter your essay for the contest, 

  • Read the full Terms and conditions here.
  • Click here for a guide on how to write a winning entry here. 
  • Before submitting your entry, ensure that it satisfies the following criteria. The entry must be:
    • in English
    • An original work of which the entrant is the author and which has not been previously professionally or commercially published in any language and is not in breach of any third party rights
    • A complete essay in itself (i.e not a fragment of a larger work)
    • Submitted through the competition page on with no more than 3,500 words on any theme.
  • Click here to apply. 

About the Bodley Head/FT Essay Prize

The Financial Times is one of the world’s foremost news organizations. A part of Nikkei Inc., it provides a broad range of information, news, and services for the global business community. 

Annually, the Financial Times and The Bodley Head, one of Britain’s leading publishers of non-fiction, jointly recruit the best young essay-writing talent from around the world. 

For its eighth edition, The Bodley Head/FT Essay Prize competition will provide a springboard for talented writers.

The Essay contest is promoted by the Random House Group Limited. 

Discover more opportunities from Nikkei Inc.

Discover more opportunities from Bodley Head.

Key Dates and Order of Program

Entries will no longer be accepted by the deadline, midday (GMT) on Thursday, September 24, 2020.

The winning entrant and runners-up will be notified by the Promoter commencing by November 2, 2020.

The winner and two runners-up will be announced in the Financial Times by November 14, 2020. 

The competition will be judged by six independent judges who will judge the entries based on the following criteria:

  • Creativity and flair with which it’s written.
  • Demonstrated emerging talent
  • Dynamism, authoritativeness, and liveliness. 

The judges’ decisions will be final and no correspondence will be entered into in relation to their decisions or the competition.

For this year’s edition, the regular judging panel is joined by the award-winning writer Yiyun Li and leading literary agent Emma Paterson.

Past Essays

The past winning essays of the Bodley Head/FT Essay Prize 2020 include:

  • 2016 Bodley Head/FT Essay Prize winner: Cash and curry
  • 2015 Bodley Head/FT Essay Prize winner: Dreams of the sea
  • 2014 Bodley Head/FT Essay Prize winner: Eiderdown
  • 2013 Bodley Head/FT Essay Prize winner: British Muslim Soldier
  • 2012 Bodley Head/FT Essay Prize winner: Getting past Coetzee
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
+ posts

Babajide is a content writer and site admin at Camberene. He majored in zoology and is also a tech enthusiast proficient in the use of python, R and other data analytics tools.

Babajide is looking into using machine learning and artificial intelligence in the near future.

Get it right the first attempt. Grab the checklist for this opportunity and others

Opt-out at any time. No strings attached.