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Please note that email submissions are not accepted !

Bessie Head Heritage Trust

2011 Bessie Head Literature Awards
(sponsored by Pentagon Publishers)
for Novel, Short Story, and

Pentagon Publishers

The Bessie Head Heritage Trust and Pentagon Publishers announce prizes in literature, three prizes to be awarded each for novel, short story, and poetry. Residents and citizens of Botswana are invited to submit manuscripts on any topic in one of the above categories. Categories are defined according to standard literary characteristics, and are limited to the following lengths :

Novel      at least 40,000 words; no upper limit
Short Story      up to 10,000 words / 10 pages
Poetry      a set of one to three poems

Your submission must adhere to the following criteria:

1. Your work must be original, unpublished and not submitted to any publisher.

2. Your manuscript must be in English and be thoroughly revised and proofread.

3. Your manuscript must be typed or printed. Handwritten entries are not accepted.

4. You must submit four copies of your work by post. Photocopies are fine.

5. Do not send more than one manuscript (novel, short story, or poetry). You may submit exactly one entry per year of the contest.

6. Do not submit a school assignment; school projects are not accepted.

7. Your submission must include a cover page with this information: (a) your real name (no pen names are accepted), (b) your postal or email address, (c) one or two phone numbers for contacting you, (d) a title for your work, and (e) a clear statement of the category of the work (“novel”, “short story”, or “poetry”).

The first page of the manuscript itself – not the cover page – must also clearly state the category and title of the manuscript .

8. Except for the cover page, your entry must not have your name on it. Judges will judge all manuscripts blindly; i.e. they must not be able to identify the authors.

9. Your entry must be accompanied by one photocopy of your Omang or your passport and residence certificate (these photocopies need not be certified).

10. You must enter your work yourself. A publisher or friend may not submit it for you.

11. Deadline: All entries must be postmarked by 21 March 2011 and received no later than 31 March 2011.

Any submission that does not follow the above criteria will be disqualified.

You are advised that you may be asked to authenticate your work, and you should not destroy any drafts, including the first one, since you may be asked to produce them.

Contestants may only win once in any category in any four-year period (if you win a prize, you are not allowed to enter in the same category again for three years). The 2011 cash prizes are as follows:

  Novel Short Story Poetry
First prize P2500 P1500 P1200
1st runner-up P1200 P900 P800
2nd runner-up P800 P600 P500

Post — not email — your cover page, identification, and four copies of your manuscript to

Bessie Head Literature Awards
P.O. Box 70401

If you wish to receive an acknowledgement that your entry has been received, please enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Winners and details of the prize-giving ceremony to be announced in mid-June 2011 on the website

Queries to or visit

Winners are barred for three years from again submitting manuscripts in the same category, though they may enter other categories. Bessie Head Heritage Trust members, Pentagon Publisher employees, contest judges, and members of their families are prohibited from entering. Pentagon Publishers reserves the right to publish prize-winning manuscripts and to evaluate the other manuscripts for publication. It acknowledges the rights of copyright in the manuscript and the lawfulness of the copyright holder's rights and title to these rights.

First published 22 December 2010

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