‘Is there still no place like home?’ – Nine Dots Prize offers $100,000 for the best response

5 October, 2018

The Nine Dots Prize has today (Friday 5th October) announced that it is offering US$100,000 and a book deal with Cambridge University Press to whoever can best answer the question ‘Is there still no place like home?’

This marks the launch of the second cycle of the Nine Dots Prize, which is designed to promote and encourage innovative thinking and engaging new writing that addresses the challenges facing the modern world. The Prize is judged entirely anonymously and encourages submissions from both experienced authors and new voices.

Entrants must respond to the set question in 3,000 words and provide an outline showing how they would expand their response, backed up with relevant research and evidence, into a short book of between 25,000-40,000 words. The winner will receive editorial support from Cambridge University Press as well as the opportunity to spend a term at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), at Cambridge University, to help develop their ideas and focus on their writing.

The Prize will be judged by an 11-strong Board of internationally recognised and distinguished academics, authors, journalists and thinkers. In 2018/2019 they will include Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author Anne Applebaum; Head of the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge Professor David Runciman and co-founder and publishing director of one of Africa’s leading publishing houses, Cassava Republic Press, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf. The Board will again be chaired by Professor Simon Goldhill, Professor in Greek Literature and Culture and Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge.

Professor Goldhill says: “What makes the Nine Dots Prize unique is the anonymous judging process, which ensures that it is awarded solely based on the entrants’ ability to engage fully and insightfully with the question and deliver an original and well-evidenced response. The Prize seeks answers to some of the major challenges facing the world today, but the questions that we set are intentionally open to allow for different responses. We are looking for a new voice that has a new perspective on one of the most pressing issues for modern life.”

The inaugural Nine Dots Prize posed the question ‘Are digital technologies making politics impossible?’ and was won by former Google employee turned Oxford philosopher, James Williams. The resulting book, Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy, was published in May 2018 to critical acclaim (‘A landmark book’ – the Observer; ‘Switch off your smartphone, slouch in a comfy chair, and pay your full, undivided, attention to this short, absorbing, and deeply disturbing book’ – Financial Times).

James Williams says: “Before winning the Nine Dots Prize, I’d spent several years at Oxford investigating a problem that I felt was of great consequence for society. However, I lacked a clear platform for bringing that thinking to the world. Winning the Nine Dots Prize gave me such a platform: it afforded me the time, the resources, and the support structure I needed to quickly distil some of those ideas into a book. Throughout the writing and editing process, I was particularly fortunate to have benefitted from the expert editorial guidance of Cambridge University Press, research support from CRASSH, and perceptive feedback from the Nine Dots staff and board. This is a unique prize. If you feel you’ve got something unique to say, I’d strongly encourage you to contribute a response to this year’s question.”

The Nine Dots Prize is open to anyone worldwide aged 18 years or over writing in English. Entries must be submitted through the online submission form by midday (GMT) on Monday 21st January 2019. The winner will be announced on 29th May 2019.

To help with any questions you might have about the Nine Dots Prize and the support the winner will receive in writing their book, we have created a series of short videos containing useful information and inspiration from the Nine Dots Prize team. Visit our YouTube channel for more.