The Plaza Memoir: First Chapters Prize

The Plaza Memoir: First Chapters Prize

Judged by Nicole Treska

1st prize: £1500. 2nd prize: £300. 3rd prize: £100

5000 words + 300 word Synopsis

‘The memoirist is, as Emily Dickenson wrote, out with lanterns, looking for themselves. And there is much to be illuminated, in the most unexpected of places. Exploring this maze of existence might be it, for me; I can’t think of much better. As such, I can’t wait to read your dispatches from the known and the unknown. I can’t wait to see where you’ve shined your bright lights. We all have a book in us. A truth to tell. How did I get here, this me, and why might that matter to others?’

These are Nicole Treska’s words. She is the judge of The Plaza Memoir: First Chapters Prize. Nicole’s debut memoir Wonderland, is being published by Simon & Schuster in spring, 2024.

Nicole’s short fiction has appeared in New York Tyrant Magazine, Epiphany Magazine, and Egress: New Openings in Literary Arts.

Nicole’s work has been supported by the Jerome Foundation and the Giancarlo DiTrapano Foundation for Literature and the Arts. Her interviews and reviews are up at Electric Literature, Guernica, The Millions, BOMB, The Rumpus, and then some.

She is a grant director and professor at The City College of New York, where she teaches undergraduate writing and loves mentoring aspiring writers.

If you’ve been writing your memoir, or toying with the idea of life writing, why not get down to it for real? Come Leap Year, on 29th February, 2024 – submit the first chapters and a synopsis to The Plaza Memoir: First Chapters Prize. This is a fabulous opportunity to get some mentoring from Nicole, and create a platform that may lead to the publication of your life story.

“I can't wait to read your dispatches from the known and the unknown. I can't wait to see where you've shined your bright lights.”

Nicole Treska

The Prizes

First Prize: £1500

The winning Memoir will be published on The Plaza Prizes Anthology 2. The winner will receive a one-to-one tutorial and detailed feedback from the judge, Nicole Treska.

Second Prize: £300

Third Place: £100

Terms and Conditions



  • Deadline: 29th February 2024
  • Writers can enter any number of memoirs. (£20.00. Subsequent/discount entry: £10.00)
  • Memoirs can be in any style or form, but must be in English, and written for adults.
  • Entries must be submitted online. No email submissions. In exceptional circumstances, postal entry may be accepted, as long as a cheque made out for the correct entry fee is sent to The Plaza Prizes Ltd. (Postal address is on Contact Form.)
  • Enter the correct version of your work. If you make a mistake, entry fees will not be refunded. (You will have to enter again.)


Read the rules carefully before entering the competition. Entry implies acceptance of all the rules and failure to comply will result in disqualification.

All entries are judged anonymously. Please do not include your name, address, phone number, email, website, twitter handle etc on the document or in the file name or it will be disqualified. (Try to avoid using your full name in the synopsis or First Chapters.)

Entries will be disqualified if they are over the word limit, or have no synopsis, and there will be no refund.

Entries must be entirely your own work.

Entries are eligible if they have been self- or Indie published on any website, blog or online forum or journal. (‘Indie’ meaning Independent publisher) They must NOT have been published previously by a Traditional publisher (the Big 5).

Entries must NOT have won in any other competition. If your entry was long-listed or shortlisted in other competitions it IS still eligible.

Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but if an entry wins a prize elsewhere, is published or scheduled for future publication, prior to the date of prize giving, you must inform us to withdraw immediately. Entry fees will not be refunded.


A 300-word synopsis of your Memoir.

The opening chapters of your Memoir. (5,000 words, max).


The first page of your entry must be a synopsis of 300 words, max), which should include:

  • An introductory paragraph about you (WHO), and why you wanted to write it your story (WHAT).
  • A paragraph highlighting the themes of the memoir (WHY, WHERE, WHEN).
  • A conclusory paragraph about the HOW, the structure.


£20.00 per Memoir (with synopsis, in a single Word document or PDF file). (Subsequent/discount entry: £10.00)

Entries must be submitted online. No email submissions.


  • Entries must be typed, double-spaced with numbered pages./li>
  • Save as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or PDF file with the title as the file name. Do not include your name in the file name as this will lead to disqualification.
  • Max 2MB file. Include the word count for the synopsis and Memoir, top right, first page (this should not exceed 5,300 words in total).
  • Do not add cover pages
  • No illustrated work


The judges’ decision is final. No individual correspondence can be entered into. Judges are unable to comment on individual entries. The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to change the judge without notice.


Copyright remains with the author, but The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to publish extracts from winning memoir in The Plaza Prizes Anthology 2 and on our website, or for publicity purposes.

Results & Awards

The winner and runner up will be announced on the website and social media on 1st May 2024.

Bursary Scheme

In 2023-2024, we will be offering 100 FREE ENTRY BURSARIES across all our competitions to writers on low incomes, and from underrepresented groups. You can apply for a bursary if low income, class, race, age, gender, sexuality, caring responsibilities, location, disability, or mental and physical health affects your writing. We want to encourage equality to discover quality new writing from diverse voices. Click here to apply for our Bursary Scheme.


The Plaza Prizes expects to be recognised in any published memoirs associated with us.

The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to amend the rules where it deems necessary. Any changes to the rules will be posted on our website.

If you have a query about eligibility, please contact: simon@theplazaprizes.com

Enter by pressing the big orange button below.