The two-time winner of a prestigious local literary contest has returned as a judge.

Kit de Waal won the Bridport Prize for flash fiction twice, mentored its Black Writer Award and is now this year's memoir judge.

She embodies the competition’s aim of championing undiscovered creative writing talent and its commitment to under-represented writers. 

Kit de Waal was born in Birmingham into a working-class family with an Irish mother and Caribbean father.

She did not begin writing until her 50s and gained international success with her debut novel My Name is Leon, which was shortlisted for the Costa Award and made into a BBC drama featuring Sir Lenny Henry.

Her memoir Without Warning & Only Sometimes is now out in paperback.

Kit de Waal's advice for memoir writers entering the Bridport Prize is: "Memoirs can teach us that there is no ordinary person. That everyone wants the same thing, to love and be loved.

"Don’t think you’re too ordinary - there are no ordinary lives - and don’t think you’re too inexperienced. Write from the heart and tell me who you are. I can’t wait to read."

On dealing with writers' rejection, Kit said: "Acknowledge the pain, grieve for a little while but don’t let the grief and disappointment de-rail you. Keep going and if you can’t keep going, know that you gave it your best shot. Now may not be the best time. You can always come back."

London Literary Agency AM Heath partners with The Bridport Prize and signed Joanne Briggs, winner of the inaugural memoir competition.

Euan Thorneycroft from AM Heath said: "Everyone has a book in them – Martin Amis thought this claim untrue. Rather, he said, everyone has a memoir inside them. And in a world which seems ever more polarised and divided, finding ways to tell our own stories can help us to be better at stepping into the shoes of others."

This year the Bridport Prize is celebrating its 50th birthday. 

Past Bridport Prize novel winners and recent success stories include Sean Lusk’s The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudsley and Carole Hailey with The Silence Project

Faber’s debut novel lead next year is Fiona Williams who won in 2020 with her novel The House of Broken Bricks

The memoir competition deadline is Saturday, September 30. Only 5,000 to 8,000 words are needed initially.