The Nine Dots Rule Of Law Writing Competition (Win $100,000) / How To Apply

October 28, 20220

The Cambridge University Press and the Kadas Foundation are hosting the Nine Dots Prize creative writing competition on the Rule of Law.

This is a great opportunity for experienced writers and lawyers to take advantage of their knowledge of the rule of law and earn good money from writing.

The topic of this year’s contest is:

Why Has the Rule of Law Become So Fragile?

How to Apply for the Rule of Law Writing contest?

  • A summary response – Applicants must write a summary response to the set question on the rule of law, which must be no more than 3,000 words in length. Should you win the Prize, you will be required–with the support of the editorial team at CUP – to develop this summary into a short book of between 25,000 and 40,000 words. The summary should cover the main ideas and arguments your proposed book will make, the evidence and research on which it draws and the key conclusions it will reach.
  • An outline structure – Provide an outline structure of this short book, including provisional chapter headings. This can be no more than 1,000 words and will show how you see your response expanding into a complete book and how you would develop your arguments, should you be successful. It is an opportunity to prove that there is enough depth to your arguments to provide content for an entire book.
  • A justification statement – Write a justification statement which can be no more than 1,000 words, that sets out how you will complete the book in the time given (approx. seven months). This will outline your previous experience in communicating effectively about evidence, research and ideas, and a commitment from you that your responsibilities will allow the book to be completed in the seven-month period. Where relevant, this should include confirmation of support from your institution(s) or employer(s) that time away from your usual responsibilities has been approved.


All entries should be submitted through the online submission form on their website, No entries submitted via other routes will be accepted. No changes to entries can be made once submitted.


The deadline for submitting your rule of law essay is 11.59am GMT on Monday 23 January 2023. Please note that they always set their deadline for midday (not midnight) on the submission date so that their UK-based team is available to answer questions or deal with any technical issues. Applicants cannot hold the Nine Dots Prize responsible for applicants missing the deadline because of technical problems when uploading documents to the site.

The organizers will not accept late submissions, or entries that are over the set word limits for any of the three parts.

Fiction entries will be accepted as submissions. As with all entries, fiction entries would need to engage fully with the question and utilize research, evidence and experience in order to answer it. Applicants should look at the Judging Criteria, set out below, and consider whether their fictional response meets these criteria.

The summary response should include references to the research and evidence used. References can be in any format, but references in the form of endnotes, footnotes or a Bibliography at the end of the document do not count towards the 3,000-word limit. References included in the main body of the text will be counted.

Documents should be in Word (.doc or .docx formats) and should not exceed 5MB in size

Eligibility for the Rule of Law Writing Competition

The rule of law writing contest is open to anyone 18 years of age or over. Responses and the resulting book must be in English. 

The organizers are looking for innovative thinking, whether from new writers or from experienced authors. The competition is open to writers who can do a critical analysis of contemporary society and societal challenges. Judges will welcome responses that draw on a range of perspectives and disciplines.

Joint entries will be considered. Where more than one author is submitting, the justification statement must make clear how they will work together to provide a coherent response and book. 

Note: Proposals that put forward a number of authors all contributing single sections (such as an edited collection) will not be accepted. Each author will be expected to agree to the Prize Rules.

Only one entry per author will be accepted (whether as an individual or with others).

Authors based in UK sanctioned countries at the time of submission are welcome to submit, however additional considerations may apply. For example, the Foundation will need to assess whether it is possible, in accordance with its charitable status, to pay the monetary award to a successful author from a UK sanctioned country.

The Judges

All Board members can act as Judges for the Prize. Where the Board deems it appropriate, non-Board members with expertise in the subject area of the question may also serve as Judges (collectively referred to as the ‘Judging Panel’).

Judging the Winning Entry

The Judging Panel will consider the submissions based on the Judging Criteria (see below) and award the Prize to the entry that in their view best responds to the set question. 

The Judging Criteria states that the Judging Panel will look for submissions that: 

  • are original, important and of excellent quality; 
  • contain a strong argument and show a depth of analysis; 
  • are rigorous whilst being accessibly written and engaging for a wide audience; 
  • exhibit a distinctive voice; and 
  • are relevant to the question.

Responses can critique, agree or disagree with, or reject the premise of the question set, but they must engage with it fully and insightfully.

Responses may use research and evidence from a wide variety of sources. Entrants are welcome to draw on their experience or the experience of others in answering the question, but this should be contextualized alongside relevant research and evidence. A purely opinion-based response will not be accepted.

The Prize will be judged anonymously. The Judging Panel will make their decision on anonymized versions of the summary response and outline structure documents only. Entrants do not need to anonymize their responses.

The Prize’s organizing team may use the justification statement provided to confirm information in the submissions. But the final decision will be made on the strength and originality of the response to the set question.

The Winning Prize

The Prize winner will receive US$100,000 from the Kadas Prize Foundation – payable in three stages: on announcement of the winner, on delivery of the manuscript to CUP and on publication of the book.

The book will be published by CUP and made available open access online (i.e. free to read online and download) and also published by CUP in a range of print and digital commercial formats. CUP will also provide support and editorial assistance to the Prize winner.

By submitting the response, the author(s) is/are agreeing that if awarded the Prize, the book will be published by CUP in various formats, and the author(s) will promptly enter into the necessary publishing agreement(s) with CUP or third parties for the publication in accordance with the Prize Rules.

Winner(s) will receive support from the Nine Dots team throughout the period of writing their book. The opportunity to spend a term at CRASSH will provide a creative environment in which to develop their ideas and writing. The winner will also receive editorial support from an experienced team at CUP. On publication, the winner will have support from Riot Communications and CUP’s marketing team to help their book reach the widest possible audience. 

The provisional timetable (which may be subject to change) for award of the 2022/23 Prize is as follows:

  • 7 October 2022 – Prize launch
  • 11.59am GMT (midday) 23 January 2023 – Submission deadline
  • May 2023 – Announcement of Prize winner
  • October to December 2023 – Optional Visiting Fellowship at CRASSH, University of Cambridge
  • October 2023 – 60% of the book (including some full chapters) to be delivered to CUP 
  • October 2023 – Prize seminar to be held by CRASSH and progress report by the author 
  • 2 January 2024 – Final manuscript submitted to CUP
  • May 2024 – Book published by CUP

What Successful Winners will Provide

By submitting a response, the author(s) guarantee that, if awarded the Prize, they will submit a manuscript of between 25,000 to 40,000 words to CUP by 2 January 2024.

This will include delivering 60 per cent of the book by October 2023 (including some full chapters) to ensure the book is reviewed, edited and published on schedule.

The Prize winner(s) will also participate in a seminar in October 2023 (or such other date as agreed) by CRASSH virtually or in Cambridge, where they will have a chance to discuss the work in progress; and will undertake a reasonable number of activities (for example, media appearances, social media engagement, other written outputs or progress reports etc.) to promote the author’s own work and the Prize. The details of these will be agreed with the Prize winner(s) after award of the Prize

Originality of Idea and Writing

By submitting a response, the author(s) undertake that their response and resulting book will consist of their own original work and will not infringe the intellectual property rights of anyone. If a third party’s material is used, the author will undertake to obtain the necessary permission. The intellectual property conditions placed on Prize winner(s) are detailed in the Prize Rules

The Prize seeks to reward original ideas, but understands that some authors may have begun to explore ideas outlined in their response in previous publications. These may be referred to, or short excerpts included within the book, but your submission must be a new and original work in itself. If you do re-use previously-published material, the author will be responsible for clearing any required permissions for the re-use of this work in accordance with the CUP publication agreement.

Entries remain the property of applicants at all times. Further details on the need to grant a licence/licences to CUP for publication are detailed in the Prize Rules. As the Prize is judged anonymously, we encourage applicants not to publish their entries elsewhere prior to the Judging Panel’s final decision. 

The Prize will not publish any of the responses in full, including the winner’s response. Extracts from the winner’s response will be published online at the time of the Prize award.

Authors Data Protection

The Foundation will handle the author(s)’ personal information in accordance with the Prize’s Privacy Policy

The Prize Rules and Regulation

By submitting a response, each submitting author agrees to be bound by the Prize Rules, including signing an agreement with CUP governing the publication of the book and a grant agreement with the Foundation setting out terms on which the Prize is made as detailed in the Prize Rules.

The Judging Panel’s decision in selecting the Prize winner is final and no correspondence will be entered into or challenge to the decision considered.

If no application is considered to be of the required standard, the Judging Panel reserves the right not to award the Prize. No alternatives to the Prize will be provided. 

To Get More Information about the Prize

There is a Frequently Asked Questions page on the website that may be helpful. If not, then applicants can either email the Prize on or tweet at @NineDotsPrize.

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