Narratively 2023 Memoir Prize: Official Rules & Submission Guidelines

SPONSOR: The Narratively 2023 Memoir Prize (“Prize”) is sponsored by Narratively, Inc. (“Sponsor”), 585 E. 35th St., Brooklyn, NY 11203, +1 (646) 552-5204.

PRIZE SUBMISSION PERIOD: Prize submissions ("Entry" or "Entries") will be accepted via Narratively’s unique form on the Submittable submission platform ("Prize Submission Form") between 9:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on September 26, 2023 and 9:00 p.m. EDT on November 30, 2023 ("Prize Submission Period"). All Entries must be submitted during the Prize Submission Period.

ENTRY FEE: Entries are free to entrants who are paid subscribers. To qualify for free entry, you must be a paid subscriber at both the date of your entry and the date the judging period closes (January 14, 2024). Alternatively, entrants can pay a US$20 fee ("Entry Fee") per Entry, at time of Entry. Entry Fees are nonrefundable even if an Entry is withdrawn. 

ELIGIBILITY: The Prize is open to entrants who are 18 years of age or older on or before the start of the Prize Submission Period, and who satisfy all other eligibility criteria set forth herein (“Entrant” or "Entrants"). Employees, shareholders, officers, directors, agents and representatives of the Sponsor and the Prize's external judges ("Guest Judges"), the legal, promotion and advertising agencies of any aforementioned entities, and their immediate family members and those living in their household, and each person or entity connected with the production or administration of the Prize, and each parent company, affiliate, subsidiary, agent and representative of any aforementioned entity, are not eligible. 

The Prize is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws; U.S. law governs. This Prize is void where prohibited by law. All Entries must be submitted in accordance with the Narratively 2023 Memoir Prize Official Rules & Submission Guidelines ("Rules & Guidelines") as provided herein. Any Entry that does not meet the requirements and deadlines outlined herein will be disqualified from the competition. 

HOW TO ENTER: (1) Write a nonfiction memoir piece between 2,000 and 7,000 words (as counted by your word-processing software) (“Submission” or "Submissions"); (2) create a login and/or log in to complete the Prize Submission Form and pay the Entry Fee to upload your Submission. (Entry fee waived for paid subscribers, as outlined above.) Submissions must be original and can be as creative as you like within the Submission Guidelines set forth below. No hand deliveries, mailed Submissions, or emailed Submissions will be accepted. One Submission, one completed Prize Entry Form and one Entry Fee, together, complete and otherwise qualified, constitute a single Entry. All Entries received by the end of the Prize Submission Period that are complete and otherwise qualified will be eligible to win an award, as defined below. Sponsor may not acknowledge receipt of Entries.

Entrants may submit as many unique stories or Entries as they wish throughout the Prize Submission Period, provided each is uploaded as a unique Submission and a US$20 Entry Fee is paid for each unique Submission, or Entrant is a paid Narratively subscriber.

JUDGING: Judging will be completed in four (4) rounds. Entries may be prescreened to ensure the Entries have satisfied and not violated the Rules & Guidelines and meet with Sponsor’s general standards and practices prior to any judging. Entries will be evaluated for strength of premise, plot, character and setting, with an emphasis on revealing and emotional first-person nonfiction narratives that are unfamiliar, surprising and captivating, from unique and overlooked points of view. Rounds 1 through 3 will be conducted by Narratively’s panel of readers and Narratively’s editors; Round 4 will be conducted by Narratively’s Guest Judges (collectively, "Judges") and shall determine one (1) Grand-Prize Winner and two (2) Finalists.

Judging will begin on or after December 1, 2023 and continue on a rolling basis throughout and beyond the Prize Submission Period. Decisions will be announced on or around February 5, 2024. Judges reserve the right not to confer any awards if it is determined that no Entries merit selection for publication by Narratively. All Judges’ decisions are final. 

AWARDS: Three Entries will be compensated with one of the following awards ("Award" or "Awards") at the conclusion of the judging process:

  • Grand Prize: US$3,000, and publication on

  • Finalist: US$1,000, and publication on 

  • Finalist: US$1,000, and publication on 

For all Awards, all federal, state and local taxes, and other expenses in connection with the Awards not expressly described herein as being awarded, are the sole responsibility of the Grand-Prize Winner and Finalists ("Award-winner" or "Award-winners"). Award-winners are solely responsible for any other unspecified expenses related to their respective Awards. Award-winners cannot assign their Award to another person. No substitution of an Award is permitted; however, Sponsor reserves the right to substitute an Award with another Award of equal or greater value. While it is Sponsor’s intention to confer and perform the aforementioned Awards, they reserve the right, in their sole discretion, to publish or not publish the Award-winners' Submissions.

NOTIFICATION: Award-winners will be notified via Submittable and/or email and will be required to respond (as directed) to the notification within seventy-two (72) hours of attempted notification. The failure to respond timely to the notification may result in forfeiture of the Award; and, in such case, Sponsor may choose a replacement Award-winner from among the remaining eligible Entries. Except where prohibited, acceptance of Award constitutes the Award-winners' consent to allow Sponsor and its promotional agents to use Award-winners' name, likeness, photo, video footage, audio and/or biographical data for advertising and promotional purposes, without additional compensation, in perpetuity, in all media, now known or hereafter developed, in connection with Sponsor, this Prize and the Sponsor’s websites, email newsletters and social media channels. Award-winners will be required to sign and return to Sponsor the Narratively Contributor Agreement ("Contributor Agreement") and, if required by IRS regulations, a current, signed IRS Form 1099-MISC (U.S. residents) or IRS Form W-8BEN (international residents) (collectively, “Award Documents”) prior to and as a condition of acceptance of Award, WITHIN FIVE (5) BUSINESS DAYS OF RECEIPT OF NOTIFICATION or Award will be forfeited and an alternate Award-winner selected.

The Award-winners' full names may be announced and posted on the internet, on air and in other media, in Sponsor’s sole discretion, without any compensation to Award-winners.

Awards will be disbursed and/or conferred within 45 days after Sponsor’s receipt and verification of completed Award Documents. If an Award notification is undeliverable, or if a potential Award-winner does not respond to the Award notification within the time specified, or if the potential Award-winner cannot be contacted for any reason, or if the Award Documents are not complete and received by Sponsor within the time required, or in the event of non-compliance with these Rules & Guidelines, the Award will be forfeited, and an alternate Award-winner will be selected at Sponsor’s discretion.  

Being declared an Award-winner does not afford any additional benefits from Sponsor. Sponsor’s only obligation to Award-winner is to disburse and/or confer the Award elements described in the Awards paragraph in these Rules & Guidelines. 

Taxes, if any, are the sole responsibility of Award-winner. This Prize is void where prohibited or restricted by law, and subject to applicable federal, state and local laws. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any Entrant they find to be tampering with the Entry process or the operation of the Prize, or violating these Rules & Guidelines.

PUBLICATION RIGHTS & PERMISSIONS: All Award-winning Submissions will remain in the Narratively database and on the Narratively website in perpetuity. Narratively’s business model is such that the Award-winning Submissions may be used by Narratively, its successors, licensees and assigns in a manner to create, adapt, pitch, develop, fund, produce, sell, license, distribute and/or otherwise exploit a derivative work based on or inspired by the Submissions, which may include without limitation, a motion picture, television or other audiovisual work, podcast, radio or live stage production (each, a “Derivative Work”) for use in all media (now known or hereafter devised), worldwide, in perpetuity, and Narratively has the exclusive right to enter into an agreement with a third party with respect to such rights. In the event such a Derivative Work is acquired from, licensed or otherwise financed or produced by Narratively during the Derivative Period (as may be extended subject to the terms within the Contributor Agreement or otherwise by mutual agreement), Award-winner will receive a share of the fixed compensation Narratively receives and retains in connection with the Derivative Work, subject to the terms set forth in Exhibit B of the Contributor Agreement. During the period that is five (5) years commencing upon the signature date of the Contributor Agreement (the “Derivative Period”), Award-winners hereby grant Narratively the exclusive right to exploit a Derivative Work. Additionally, for the period that is twelve (12) months from the date of first publication of the Submission by Narratively (the “Exclusive Period”), the Award-winners grant Narratively the exclusive, worldwide right to publish the Submission (including without limitation, any excerpts thereof) in all media now known or hereafter devised; following the Exclusive Period, the Award-winners grant Narratively the non-exclusive perpetual, worldwide right to publish the Submission (including without limitation, any excerpts thereof) in all media now known or hereafter devised (the “Non-Exclusive Period”), provided that any republication of the Submission by the Award-winners following the Exclusive Period shall include reasonable and prominent credit for Narratively as the original publisher of the Submission substantially in the form “as originally published by Narratively,” and further provided that the Award-winners notify and obtain Narratively’s prior written consent prior to any such republication or licensing of the Submission.  

Sponsor has access to, may create or may have created material, stories, ideas, proposals and the like which may be similar to the protected Submission, and Entrants are not entitled to any compensation if Sponsor uses material, stories, ideas, proposals and the like that was independently created by or on behalf of Sponsor, or that came to Sponsor from any source other than Entrant, whether before or after the date of Entry of the Submission. In any dispute arising from any alleged use of the protected Submission, Entrant undertakes the entire burden of proof of originality (i.e., proving that Sponsor did not independently create the alleged similar materials or obtain them from a source other than Entrant), access, copying and all other elements necessary to establish Sponsor’s liability.

CONDITIONS: This Prize is subject to these Rules & Guidelines. By participating, Entrants agree: (i) to be bound by these complete Rules & Guidelines and the decisions of Sponsor, which shall be final and binding; and (ii) to waive any right to claim ambiguity in the Prize or these Rules & Guidelines, except where prohibited by law. Entrants agree to release Sponsor and Guest Judges, including their parent, subsidiary and affiliated entities, together with the respective directors, employees, officers, licensees, licensors and agents, and respective advertising and promotion entities, and any person or entity associated with the production, judging or administration of the Prize (collectively, the “Releases”), from any and all liability, loss or damage arising from or in connection with submitting an Entry for this Prize. Sponsor reserves the right to cancel or suspend the Prize, in its sole discretion, or due to circumstances beyond its control, including natural disasters. Submissions will not be returned and may be destroyed.

Incomplete, garbled or otherwise illegible Submissions are void and will not be accepted. Sponsors are not responsible for lost, late, misdirected or corrupted Submissions, nor for any problems, bugs or malfunctions Entrants may encounter when submitting their Submissions. 

Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, modify or suspend the Prize should a virus, bug, computer problem, unauthorized intervention or other causes beyond Sponsor’s control corrupt the administration, security or proper play of the Prize. Sponsor may prohibit an Entrant from participating in the Prize or winning an Award if, in its sole discretion, it determines such Entrant is attempting to undermine the legitimate operation of the Prize in any way by cheating, hacking, deception or any other unfair playing practices of intending to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other Entrants or Sponsor’s representatives. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE PRIZE MAY BE IN VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND WILL RESULT IN DISQUALIFICATION FROM PARTICIPATION IN THE PRIZE. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK REMEDIES AND DAMAGES (INCLUDING ATTORNEY’S FEES) TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW, INCLUDING CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.

PUBLICITY: Sponsor reserves the right to use Award-winners' Submissions for limited publicity purposes prior to, during and/or after the Prize end date, in any media, and to use the name and/or likeness (including still imagery, video clips, audio or other media) of any Entrant, including up to one hundred percent (100%) of their Submission, throughout the world, in perpetuity, without any compensation or prior review unless specifically prohibited by law. 

LAW/DISPUTE RESOLUTION: This Prize shall be governed by and interpreted under the laws of the State of New York, U.S.A., without regard to its conflicts of laws provisions that may require the application of the laws of another jurisdiction. Any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or in connection with this Prize shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action. Any action or litigation concerning this Prize shall take place exclusively in the federal or state courts sitting in New York, New York, and Entrants expressly consent to the jurisdiction of and venue in such courts and to waive all defenses of lack of jurisdiction and inconvenient forum with respect to such courts. Entrants agree to service of process by mail or other method acceptable under the laws of the State of New York. ANY CLAIMS, JUDGMENTS AND/OR AWARDS SHALL BE LIMITED TO ACTUAL OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH ENTERING THIS PRIZE. ENTRANTS HEREBY WAIVE ANY RIGHTS OR CLAIMS TO ATTORNEY’S FEES, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, WHETHER FORESEEABLE OR NOT AND WHETHER BASED ON NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE.

PRIVACY: All personal information collected by Sponsor will be used for administration of the Prize. Entrants may be sent promotional material related to Sponsor’s products and services. Any questions regarding privacy matters should be directed to the address set out below.

Award-Winners List: For the names of the Award-winners, available between 90 and 120 days following the end of the Prize Submission Period, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope (except where prohibited) and a note identifying the name of this Prize to Sponsor at 585 E. 35th St., Brooklyn, NY 11203.

Submission Guidelines

Submission Guidelines must be followed by all Entrants to qualify. 

File format: .doc, .docx, .txt, .rtf

Length: 2,000 to 7,000 words (as counted by your word-processing software)

Language: Submissions must be in English. If the original story is not in English, an English translation may be submitted.

Endnotes and citations: Any citations should be in endnote form and listed at the end of the Submission. You warrant and represent that the Submission is yours based on your own research and writing, that all statements of fact in the Submission are accurate. 

Document format: Please remove your name and contact information from your Submission. Narratively prefers common fonts such as Times New Roman and Arial, at 10- to 12-point size, double spaced, for ease of reading. Please do not include images or graphics.

Your Submission must be an original work of authorship created by you, the person who submits the Entry. Your Submission must fit within the broad category of memoir, defined as nonfiction describing real events in your own life. If, in the sole discretion of the Sponsor, your Submission constitutes copyright infringement, otherwise violates the rights of any third party and/or violates the requirements set forth herein, the Submission will be disqualified. Entries that are incomplete or corrupted are void and will not be accepted. 

Narratively will not accept Submissions previously published by another publication, in any medium or on any platform. Entrants may not copy or otherwise copy or plagiarize their Submission, in whole or part, from any source, nor may the Submission include third-party copyrighted material. Entrant must hold all rights to the entire Submission. Sponsor is not responsible for legal protection or clearance of Submissions in any form. Entrant agrees to defend, indemnify and hold Sponsor harmless from and against any and all claims from any third party for any use by Sponsors of Entrant’s Submission.