The NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize celebrates the life and work of the writer Laura Solomon.
As set by Laura, the main criteria for the exciting prize is for new writing with a ‘unique and original vision’. Published and unpublished writers are invited to enter with completed manuscripts written across all genres i.e. fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, drama or children’s writing.
The NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize will:
• pave the way for new and exciting writing to make its way into the marketplace
• award the winner an ‘advance’ of $1000 and a publishing contract supplied by The Cuba Press
• pay for the book production and printing. The Cuba Press will edit, design, print, market, distribute and promote the book and e-book and pay standard author royalties.
The prize is open to writers holding New Zealand citizenship or who are permanent residents of New Zealand.
Applications are open from 8 October 2021 to 31 January 2022.
The application form and terms & conditions for the NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize are available on the NZSA website.
In July 2019, NZSA received a bequest from the estate of writer Laura Solomon to establish a new annual literary prize. The Solomon family wanted the NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize to honour the creative legacy of a beloved daughter, sister and aunt.
“Laura’s passion for writing was a constant throughout her life, and for many years she expressed a desire to make a bequest that would support other writers,” says family spokesperson Nicky Solomon.
"She has created something positive to help other people, which she would be really proud of,” says Nicky. “It will give her an ongoing presence – not just for us as a family but for the writing community, which was so important to her. We were so delighted with the outcome of the inaugural prize – we can’t wait to see what talent emerges this year.”
Laura Solomon was a longstanding and active member of the New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa (PEN NZ Inc), and she is much missed by the society.
Laura kept writing novels and plays throughout her life, despite being affected by a brain tumour that was discovered while she working at a high-end IT job in London.
In her review of Laura’s short story collection Alternative Medicine, Jessica Le Bas wrote: "The hallmark of Solomon ... was to pull no punches and aim for the jugular when it came to working up the surreal, and the macabre."
The Cuba Press directors, Sarah Bolland and Mary McCallum are delighted with the first year of the new prize.
"We had a wild time reading the finalists, who were all high calibre," says Mary McCallum, "and pleased to see what the prize attracted with its criteria for writing with a ‘unique and original vision’, which is what Laura gave."
"Since then we've had a fantastic year working with the inaugural winner, Lizzie Harwood, on Polaroid Nights, a high-energy Auckland novel that may never have seen the light of day without the award.
The excitement of a new literary prize encouraged her to resurrect a manuscript she started writing twenty-four years ago. Lucky for us. We are looking forward to what the next round brings."
Right up until her death, Laura was planning new writing projects and pursuing her dream of being a full-time writer.
In a 1996 interview, Laura said, “I’ve always written and I’ll continue to write. I wrote my name when I was three and never looked back.”