SAFE On Black British Men Reclaiming by Derek Owusu 





Submissions now open to find the final contributor to forthcoming Book SAFE: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space, an anthology exploring the position of black men in Britain today, edited by Mostly Lit’s very own Derek Owusu.


This competition, which is to be run by The Orion Publishing Group Limited (“Orion”) is about bringing more black British male voices forward in literature. We want to hear from you if you are black, identify as male and are living in the UK – what issues do you care about, what experiences have shaped who you are, what message do you want to get across to others? This call-out for essays is your opportunity to have your writing showcased and to reach out to a wider audience.


The Winner will be chosen for the quality of the writing, the originality of the approach and the subject matter. Essays (of no more than 3000 words) must link with the overall theme of reclaiming space. Please read the Terms and Conditions below for more information about the requirements.


The pieces in the Book cover topics like violence, mental health, racism, sexuality, fashion, religion, fatherhood, names, art, literature and black greatness. We are looking for an essay that complements these themes but feels fresh and original. Our advice is to write about something that has particular importance for you; you might have been inspired by a specific event in your life, or it might be on a theme that you have been observing for a while. Whatever the topic, we want to read your written exploration of it.


The winning entry will feature in the final Book alongside contributors such as poet Suli Breaks, award-winning author Alex Wheatle, Channel 4 news reporter Symeon Brown and Guardian journalist Joseph Harker.




What is the experience of black men in Britain? With continued conversation around British identity, racism and diversity, there is no better time to explore this question and give black British men a platform to answer it. SAFE: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space is that platform. Including essays from top poets, writers, musicians, actors and journalists, this timely and accessible Book brings together a selection of powerful reflections exploring the black British male experience and what it really means to reclaim and hold space in the landscape of our society. 


Where do black men belong in school, in the media, in their own families, in the conversation about mental health, in the LGBT community, in grime music – and how can these voices inspire, educate and add to the dialogue of diversity already taking place? Following on from discussions raised by The Good Immigrant and Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, this collection takes readers on a rich and varied path to confront and question the position of black men in Britain today, and shines a light on the way forward.


The competition is being run by The Orion Publishing Group Limited (“Orion”).  Orion is the Promoter and the data controller.  Its privacy Policy is at


To enter, please read the Terms and Conditions below, and then send your entry by email to




1. This is a competition for an essay to be published by Orion in the forthcoming Book Safe: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space (the "Book"). To enter, please submit your essay in accordance with the terms and conditions below


2. Entrants to the competition must submit an essay written in English and of no more than 3000 words on the subject of the British black male experience and the idea of reclaiming space including what issues they (entrants) care about, what experiences have shaped who they are, and the what message they want to get across to others (the “Criteria”).  Entrants must also include a short biography about themselves.


3. The Winner will, subject to signing the Contract referred to below, have their essay published in the Book, will receive £300 on the signing of the contract and will receive 2 complimentary copies of the Book.


4. The Winner will be credited in the Book. This will be in the form of their full name and a short biography to be printed on a page listing contributors. 

5. Entrants must be at least 18 years old, black, identify as male and be living in the UK.  The essay must not have been previously published, in print or online (including self-published, as an eBook, or in magazines, journals, websites, blogs, social network sites), or broadcast or submitted for or won a prize in another writing competition.


6. The Winner will be selected from the entries received in accordance with these terms and conditions that fulfil the Criteria.  Entries will be judged for the quality of writing, originality, and style.


7. The Winner will be selected by the editor of the Book (Derek Owusu) and representatives from Orion (together the “Judges”), whose decision will be final.


8. The Winner will be notified by via email on 9th August 2018.  The Winner may see his name posted on the Orion website and possibly other websites and social media accounts.


9. There is no purchase necessary to enter.


10. The competition opens at 6:00 am BST on Friday 1st June 2018 and closes at 11:59 pm BST on Sunday 15th July 2018. Any entries received outside these specified times and dates will not be eligible for entry into the competition.


11. Entries should be submitted as a Word document, pdf or equivalent and emailed to


12. Entries must be entirely the original work of the entrant.  Any entry found to have been plagiarised will be disqualified.


13. The publication of the essay in the Book will be subject to a separate contract being agreed between the Winner and Derek Owusu (the “Contract”).  The Contract will set out the terms and conditions governing publication.  The rights to be granted will include the publication of the essay in print and as an ebook throughout the world in all languages.  It will also include the right to sublicense publication of the whole or part to a third party.  In the event that the Winner and Mr Owusu are unable to agree a contract the Judges shall have the right to select another entry as the winning entry.  Only the person whose essay is published may refer to himself as the winner of the prize.


14. A maximum of one entry per person allowed. Entries will not be accepted via agents, third parties or in bulk.


15. By submitting their entry, the entrant agrees and warrants that (i) the submission contains the entrant’s own original work; and (ii) nothing in the submission is defamatory, private or an infringement of copyright or other intellectual property right or in any way a breach of another’s right.  If any third party material is included it must be with the prior permission of the original writer or other creator. Orion and Mr Owusu reserve the right to ask for the permission before any prize is distributed. Any entry in breach of this clause will be disqualified from participating in the competition and from winning any prize.

16. The Company reserves the right to alter the prizes or cancel the SAFE essay competition without notice.


17. The Company is not responsible for contacting or forwarding prizes to entrants who provide unclear or incomplete information or for entries lost, misdirected, delayed or destroyed.


18. Orion will use the personal data of the entrants (including any special category data) that they receive in the course of the competition (“Personal Data”) for the purposes of the competition.  With the exception of any Personal Data that appears in the essays, Orion will not share the Personal Data of entrants (except for the Winner) with any third parties including Derek Owusu who will see the entries without the entrants’ names.  The Winner’s Personal Data will be shared with Mr Owusu so that he may arrange for the Winner to enter into the Contract.  After the Winner has entered into the Contract, the Personal Data of the entrants as well as their entries will be deleted by Orion. The Winner’s Personal Data will be retained by Orion and Mr Owusu and used for the purposes of publishing the Book.  In this paragraph “Winner” means the person who is selected as having submitted the winning entry or any substitute if the original winner is disqualified or unable to enter into the Contract.  Orion’s Privacy Notice which provides more information on how Orion uses personal data can be found here


19. By entering the competition each entrant agrees to be bound by these terms and conditions.


20. This competition is being organised by The Orion Publishing Group Ltd, Carmelite House, 50 Victoria Embankment, London EC4Y 0DZ (“Orion”)


21. These terms and conditions and any disputes or claims (including non-contractual disputes or claims) arising out of these terms and Conditions shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of England, whose courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction.

© 2018 Mostly Lit, photography by Richard HarrisAll Rights Reserved.