The Nine Dots Prize 2020/2021 | $100,000 + Publication with Cambridge press

The Nine Dots Prize 2020/2021

The Nine Dots Prize is a prize for creative thinking that tackles contemporary societal issues.  Winner will be awarded $100,000 and a Publication with Cambridge press.

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Entrants for the Nine Dots Prize are asked to respond to a question in 3,000 words. The Prize aims to promote, encourage, and engage innovative thinking to address problems facing the modern world. The name of the Prize references the nine dots puzzle – a lateral thinking puzzle that can only be solved by thinking outside the box.

Eligibility for The Nine Dots Prize 2020/2021

  • Writers from anywhere in the world but also see the information about authors submitting from UK sanctioned countries in the Nine Dots Prize submission guidance for applicants 2020
  • Writers can be from any discipline
  • Writers must be 18 years and above
  • No entry fee
  • Individuals can only submit one application (whether alone or with others).
  • Trustees of the Foundation, Board members of the Prize, or the family members of any of the foregoing, are not eligible to submit.

Theme for The Nine Dots Prize 2020/2021

Writers are tasked to write based on their answer to the question below:

“What does it mean to be young in an ageing world?”

Submission Guidelines for The Nine Dots Prize 2020/2021

  • All files must be submitted as Word documents (.doc, .docx) or in open document format
  • You will need to submit three documents for the competition
  1. Summary response to the set question, which must be no more than 3,000 words in length. Should you win the Prize, you will be required to develop this summary into a short book of between 25,000 and 40,000 words. The summary should cover the main ideas and arguments your proposed book will make, the evidence and research on which it draws, and the key conclusions it will reach.
  2. An outline structure of this short book, including provisional chapter headings. This can be up to 1,000 words and will show how you see your response expanding into a complete book and how you would develop your arguments, should you be successful. It is an opportunity to prove that there is enough depth to your arguments to provide content for an entire book.
  3. A justification statement of your ability to complete the book in the time given (approx. seven months). This can be up to 1,000 words and will outline your previous experience in communicating effectively about evidence, research, and ideas, and a commitment from you that your responsibilities will allow the book to be completed in the seven months
  • Submissions should be made by clicking on the submission button down this page.
  • Documents should be in .doc or .docx format and should not exceed 5MB
  • You don’t have to submit in one sitting. The site will allow you to save your application and will send you a link by email so that you can return to it
  • At the end of the submissions process, you will receive an email confirming that we have successfully received your application
  •  If you do not receive an email within five days, please contact us.
  • The Nine Dots Prize cannot be held responsible for applicants missing the deadline because of technical problems when uploading documents to the site.
  • Download the Submission guidelines in PDF format 

Judging Process for the Nine Dots Prize 2020/21

  • The winner will be decided by the Judging Panel who will consider the submissions based upon the Judging Criteria and award the Prize to the entry that in their view best responds to the set question. 
  • The Prize will be judged anonymously. The Judging Panel will make their decision on anonymized versions of the response and outline structure documents only.
  • The Prize organising team may use the justification to confirm the information contained in the submissions
  • But the final decision will be made on the strength and originality of the response to the set question.
  • The Judging Panel’s decision on the selected Prize winner is final and no correspondence will be entered into or challenge to the decision considered.
  • If no response is considered to be of the required standard, the Judging Panel reserves the right not to award the Prize. No alternatives to the Prize will be provided.

Prizes for the Nine Dots Prize 2020/21

  • $100,000 for the winning entry

This is payable in three stages: on the announcement of the winner, on delivery of the manuscript to CUP, and publication of the book.

  • Book publication

The book will be published by CUP and made available open access online, and also published in a range of print and digital commercial formats, by CUP.

CUP will also provide support and editorial assistance to the Prize winner. 

Conditions of Prize acceptance

  • By submitting a submission for the Prize, you agree that if you are awarded the Prize,
  • You will submit a manuscript of between 25,000 and 40,000 words to Cambridge University Press by 2 January 2022
  • This will include delivering 60 percent of the book by October 2021 (including some full chapters) to ensure the book is reviewed, edited, and published on schedule
  • You will also participate in a seminar in October 2021 (or such other date as agreed) at CRASSH in Cambridge or virtually, which will discuss and consider the work in progress.
  • You agree to undertake a reasonable number of activities (for example, media appearances, contributions to the Nine Dots Prize website, other social media engagement, other written outputs or progress reports, etc.) as required to promote your work and the Prize.
  • The Prize seeks to reward original ideas but understands that you may have begun to explore ideas outlined in your response in previous publications. These may be referred to, or short excerpts included within the book, but your submission must be a new and original work in itself. If you do reuse previously-published material, you will be responsible for obtaining consent for any required permissions for the re-use of these, following the CUP publishing agreement

If you have any questions about the submissions process, please contact the Prize at [email protected].


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DEADLINE: 18th Jan 2021 [See all deadlines]
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