16 MARCH 2002, Page 29


'When I won the first Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize, it was gratifying for me on every level. I had already begun to publish, but this was a big step in my career It helped me to find a market for my work in the national press, and gave me the confidence to regard myself as a full-time writer' Hilary Mantel The Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize is awarded annually to the writer best able to describe a visit to a foreign place or people, in an essay of up to 4,000 words. The award will not be for travel writing in the conventional sense, but for the most acute and profound observation of a culture alien to the writer. Such a culture might be found as easily within the writer's native country as outside it. The award is open to English language writers of any nationality under the age of 35 on the closing date for entries (30 April 2002).

The winner will receive a cash prize of 53,000 and the winning entry will be published in The Spectator. Details of rules and entry procedure: Emma Bagnall, Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize, The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL,UK.