The Laurie Lee Prize for Writing

Stroud Book Festival is delighted to host the second year of the Laurie Lee Prize for Writing


2023 Winners

16–20 category

Winner: Sophia Bursey

2nd place: Rosie Smith

3rd place: Annie Tallis 


21+ category

Winner: Deborah Cox

Highly commended by the judges: Rosamund Brown, Viktoria Dahill, Sally Jenkinson, Ellen Potts, Belinda Rimmer.

You can listen to Deborah Cox reading her entry on our YouTube channel,


2023 Shortlisted Authors

16–20 category: Sophia Bursey, Florence Hardy, Natalie Sturgess-Cadman, Rosie Smith, Annie Tallis, Autumn Watkins.

21+ category: Rosamund Brown, Deborah Cox, Viktoria Dahill, Amelia Hodsdon, Cath Humphris, Sally Jenkinson, Isabella Kaminski, Rebecca Klassen, Charlotte Levene, Chantal Lyons, Ellen Potts, Belinda Rimmer, Simon Taylor.


About the Laurie Lee Prize for Writing

The prize has been created by Gloucestershire novelist Katie Fforde in association with Stroud Book Festival and with the blessing of Laurie Lee’s family to acknowledge and honour the work of Laurie Lee (1914–97). A resident of Slad, Laurie Lee was a poet and the author of Cider with Rosie and other autobiographical works. His works stand as a testament to the beauty of the valleys around Stroud and the creativity they continue to inspire.

The judges will present two prizes:

£1,000 to the author (aged 21+) of the winning entry
£500 / £300 / £200 to the winner and runners-up in a young person’s category (16–20 years)

The competition is open to anyone who has not previously published a full-length work, and who currently lives full time in Gloucestershire or was born there. To enter, you must submit up to 2,500 words maximum of fiction or non-fiction, or up to 125 lines of poetry, on a nature or conservation theme (urban or rural). This can be:

  • An essay
  • A short story
  • An extract from a memoir
  • A piece of travel writing
  • An extract from a novel
  • Poetry (maximum 125 lines across up to five poems)


Entering the 2024 Prize

Details on the 2024 Prize and the entry period will be published here in early 2024.

Click here for rules of entry


About Laurie Lee

Laurie Lee was born in Stroud, Gloucestershire, in 1914, and was educated at Slad village school and Stroud Central School. At the age of 19 he walked to London and then travelled on foot through Spain, as described in his book As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. In 1950 he married Katherine Polge and they had one daughter, Jessy. His bestselling Cider with Rosie (1959) has sold over six million copies worldwide, and was followed by two other volumes of autobiography: As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969) and A Moment of War (1991). Laurie Lee also published four collections of poems, The Sun My Monument (1944), The Bloom of Candles: Verse from a Poet's Year (1947), My Many-coated Man (1955) and Pocket Poems (1960), as well as A Rose for Winter (1955), The Firstborn (1964), I Can’t Stay Long (1975), and Two Women (1983). Village Christmas, an anthology of uncollected essays, was published posthumously. Laurie Lee died in May 1997 and is buried in Slad village graveyard.

© The Estate of Laurie Lee
© The Estate of Laurie Lee