OF THIS OUR COUNTRY: Essay Competition

OF THIS OUR COUNTRY is a collection of personal essays that explore Nigeria through the memories and experiences of the phenomenal writers it has produced. Publishing on 30th September 2021, its intention is to bring together both acclaimed and upcoming Nigerian writers, so we are holding a competition to find an unpublished and un-agented Nigerian writer, based anywhere in the world.

We are looking to hear from a Nigerian writer whose voice speaks powerfully to their experiences and reflections of Nigeria. Submitted essays should feature one or more of the following:

  1. Reflections on the Nigeria that you know
  2. A memory or memories you have of Nigeria that is/are significant to you
  3. How and where you have experienced Nigeria, be that in the country itself, or in an aspect of its culture and traditions found elsewhere

The winner of the competition will have their essay published in OF THIS OUR COUNTRY alongside acclaimed Nigerian writers including Helon Habila, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chigozie Obioma, Sefi Atta, Inua Ellams and Yomi Adegoke. The winner will also receive a fee of £1,000.

The submitted essays should be between 2,500 – 3,500 words long, and must be submitted to nigeriaproject@harpercollins.co.uk. Entries open at 00:01 GMT on 11th January 2021, and close at 23:59 GMT on 1st March 2021. Please read through the full terms and conditions below for more information on how to submit your entry.


  1. This competition is promoted by the Borough Press, a subsidiary of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (“HarperCollins”), The News Building, 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF
  2. This promotion is open to all unpublished writers without a literary agent except employees of HarperCollins (or its parent, subsidiaries or any affiliated companies) and their immediate families, who are not allowed to enter the competition.
  3. Entrants must be of Nigerian heritage: one or both parents and/or grandparents must be Nigerian by birth
  4. You must be aged 18 or over to enter this competition.
  5. The winner will receive £1,000 and the inclusion of their essay in the collection: OF THIS OUR COUNTRY (estimated publication 30th September 2021)
  6. All submissions must be sent by email to the designated Open Submission email address: nigeriaproject@harpercollins.co.uk  
  7. Submissions must be sent between the hours of 00:01 11th  January 2021 and 23:59 GMT 1st March 2021. No entries received after this date will be accepted. No purchase necessary.
  8. Submissions that have been sent by post or means other than email to the correct email address will not be accepted.
  9. Each submission should contain: a) a complete essay, numbering between 2,500 – 3,500 words, including title; b) author biography, to include any blogs and/or social media information etc. (maximum 1 page).
  10. The submission must be in Word format throughout both documents; both documents must be submitted at the same time, attached to a single email (the attachments each to be clearly individually marked as ‘essay’ and ‘author biography’). In addition, each document should include the author’s name and the title of the essay in the file name, and this information should also be marked on every page of each document.
  11. In the ‘Subject’ area at the top of an entrant’s submission email, entrants should put the ‘OF THIS OUR COUNTRY’, title of the essay, their legal name and where necessary, their pen name.
  12. In the body of the email, authors must provide their full name.
  13. Submissions that do not meet requirements of these Terms and Conditions shall not be read.
  14. Any submission containing incorrect, false or unreadable information will be rejected.
  15. Any submission made on behalf of or for another person, or multiple submissions, will not be read.
  16. Essays submitted must be: a) non-fiction: a personal essay by the entrant about their Nigeria – what they know it is; b) in prose; c) written in English, excluding phrases and sayings in languages spoken in Nigeria; d) not have been previously published/self-published or posted on publishing websites, forums or access platforms such as (but not limited to) Wattpad, Smashwords, Lulu, FanFiction, Completely Novel; e) not have had an ISBN.
  17. No correspondence between The Borough Press, HarperCollins or the entrants will be entered into, unless at The Borough Press’s request, and we will not respond to unsolicited communications.
  18. In entering this competition you agree that, if you win, in order to receive your prize you will need to enter into (i) a contract with HarperCollins on its standard author agreement terms, with flat fee of £1,000. If more than one entrant is deemed a suitable winner, both or all will receive the same prize.
  19. The winner of the open submissions period will be notified by 15th March 2021, and an announcement will be made after this time.
  20. The prize will be delivered to the winner upon signature of the contract.
  21. The prize is non-refundable, non-transferable and subject to availability. No guarantee is given as to the quality of the prize.
  22. No cash or prize alternatives are available.
  23. HarperCollins reserve the right in their reasonable discretion to substitute any prize with a prize of equal or greater value.
  24. As part of the contract the winning author must be: a) prepared to undertake editorial work on their essay; b) prepared to undertake publicity and promotional responsibilities (HarperCollins will cover reasonable expenses to be agreed in advance)
  25. There is no obligation on The Borough Press to publish any of the entrants to the Open Submission, in print or in eBook, or to offer any sort of editorial advice.
  26. The Borough Press’s decision as to who has won the competition is final; unsuccessful entrants will be notified but no feedback will be provided on unsuccessful entries.
  27. You will retain all copyright in your submission and by submitting your essay you grant HarperCollins a licence to copy your submission and share it with its affiliates solely for the purpose of reviewing it for the purpose of this competition.
  28. Neither HarperCollins nor The Borough Press will be able to return any submissions, so make sure you have a copy stored safely before you submit.
  29. Any personal information you give us will be used solely for reviewing your submission and will not be passed on to any other parties without your agreement. HarperCollins’ privacy policy can be found at: http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/legal/Pages/privacy-policy.aspx
  30. HarperCollins will not be responsible unless required by law, for any loss, changes, costs or expenses, which may arise in connection with this open submission period and HarperCollins can cancel or alter the open submissions period at any stage.
  31. The entry instructions are part of the Terms and Conditions for this competition.
  32. By entering the competition you are agreeing to accept these Terms and Conditions. Any breach of these Terms and Conditions by you will mean that your entry will not be valid, and you will not be allowed to enter this competition.
  33. By entering this competition, you are agreeing that if you win your name and image may be used for the purpose of announcing the winner in any related publicity with HarperCollins, without additional payment or permission.
  34. All entrants are expected to act fairly and in the good spirit of the competition. HarperCollins reserves the right to investigate any irregularities and disqualify entrants at its absolute discretion.
  35. Any dispute relating to the competition shall be governed by the laws of England and Wales and will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

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