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Untold Stories: Tell Your Story and Stand a Chance to Win a 3 Year Scholarship! (Closed – Winner Announced)

Winner Announcement here:

Letters have long been a repository of personal and national history – they are the expressions of love and loss, the art form common to both common folk and royalty. In an increasingly impersonal age of a thousand boring emails that end with disclaimers and exhortations not to print this email unless it is really important, the idea of a handwritten letter cleaves through the digital vacuum. The postmarks, the buying of beautiful stamps, the carefully chosen stationery – the idea of bespoke declaration in the universal font of handwriting: isn’t it time we wrote love letters instead of status updates?

There should still be a place to celebrate the handwritten letter, the art of penmanship and expression. In the time honoured tradition of the Dead Letter detectives, Exclusive Books would be honoured to receive dead letters from thousands of writers.

The letters should be addressed to a fictional or real person, or yourself should you be writing on topics such as ‘To My Older/Younger Self”, and will be judged on the basis of your technical skill and the scope of the letter. The letter should be written with the intention of being opened far later than expected, and will require context for the year it is written in. Credit will be given for appearance and verisimilitude. All letters must be handwritten to qualify.

If you are too young to enter for the university prize, you can still send in a letter for the anthology! 

Got any questions? Check out our FAQ!


1. Twenty Years Free
2. In Exile
3. Letter to the Author
4. Dear Santa
5. Thank You, Madiba
6. To My Older Self
7. Believe Me Ever Yours
8. I have carried this letter around like a burden – I must tell you why it ended…
9. When I was 19, I was held in solitary confinement for three months
10. I don’t feel guilty
11. It started with my first job as a waitress in a small hotel in Calitzdorp
12. My father was a bully
13. The Internet. You’re welcome.
14. If you’re reading this, then I’m too late
15. To my younger self

The Competition will run from 30 May to 28 July.

The prize will be a three-year scholarship to any accredited university in South Africa to study the three-year degree of your choice. Includes fees and textbooks, excludes residence fees, transport and sundry costs.

In order for your entry to be valid, please ensure that your contact details, name and age are on the back of each envelope.

Please note that only letters written in English will be judged this year.

Terms and Conditions for University Scholarship
1. The winner must begin the first year of their studies within two years of winning the university degree
2. The prize will go only to the writer of the winning letter and cannot be transferred
3. The prize-winner must study an undergraduate degree that will take maximum three years to complete. The choice of degree is up to the winner
4. The university must be an accredited South African university
5. The winner must be at least 16 years of age
6. Tuition fees will be paid directly to the university
7. Textbooks will be covered in the prize
8. Exclusive Books is not liable for accommodation, stationery, transport or any other costs related to the winner’s studies
9. Should the winner already be studying, Exclusive Books will pay the balance of their undergrad course up to three years.

General terms and conditions
1. Employees and family members of Exclusive Books may not enter the competition
2. Letter should range roughly between 500-2500 words, but ultimately the letters will be considered on individual merit
3. Letters may be sent directly to head office should participants not be near an Exclusive Books store
4. The prize cannot be transferred or exchanged for cash
5. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into
6. All shortlisted contestants agree to have their letters published in an anthology, the rights of which will belong to Exclusive Books. Profits from the anthology will go to charity
7. The letters will become property of Exclusive Books, and may be used in advertising material both online and offline
8. Prizes may only be claimed by winners who live in South Africa and Botswana
9. Winners have one month to claim their prizes. If the prize is not claimed, it will go to the runners-up.
10. If you have won an or Exclus1ve Books competition within the last 30 days of the
competition end date, you will not be eligible for the prize draw.
11. Exclusive Books reserves the right to change the prize.
12. By entering the competition, you agree to receive notification announcing the winner(s), once the draw has been made.
13. All letters must be handwritten to qualify 

Still got questions?  Check out our FAQ!

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115 Responses to Untold Stories: Tell Your Story and Stand a Chance to Win a 3 Year Scholarship! (Closed – Winner Announced)

  1. Ling May 30th, 2014 at 8:38 am #

    closing date?

  2. Jillian May 30th, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    How will entrants be notified of the winner?
    Will details such as an email address of contact detail be required to be provided with the letter?
    Will the letter have to be ‘mailed’ in an envelope, with a stamp, etc.?

    • Zoe June 3rd, 2014 at 8:32 am #

      Hi Jillian,

      All contact details should be on the back of the envelope, as mentioned in the terms and conditions. Letters can be mailed to our head office address should you not be close to one of our stores. However, if you can visit one of our stores, the envelope just needs to be dropped in one of our postboxes.

  3. Monique June 3rd, 2014 at 8:26 am #

    When is the closing date for this and when will winners be announced?

    • Zoe June 3rd, 2014 at 8:33 am #

      Hi Monique,

      The last day to send letters is the 28th of July. The winner will be announced in late August in the Sunday Times.

  4. Lee June 4th, 2014 at 8:44 am #

    Can a writer enter more than one letter (obviously not a copy of the exact same letter)?

    • Zoe June 5th, 2014 at 7:55 am #

      Hi Lee,

      Yes, we will accept up to five letters from one person – looking forward to recieving your entries!

  5. Meg June 4th, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    What if you turn 16 later on in the year?

    • Zoe June 5th, 2014 at 7:56 am #

      Hi Meg,

      The winner should be able to start their degree within two years, so as long as you qualify for uni at that time, then it’s fine :)

  6. Curious Kid June 4th, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

    For what reasons may a casual staff member (NOT PERMANENT STAFF) not enter the draw? I am aware it is an Exclusive Books competition, however as a casual I have no control over the winners. What would happen if a casual staff member did enter? Would it immediately just be disqualified or would it at least be taken into consideration, if hypothetically a casual was to win lets say, would it still be valid if they were to resign as a staff member? Or would it just be ignored?

    Just curious.

    • Zoe June 5th, 2014 at 8:02 am #


      Due to CPA regulations and general legal conflict of interest, no Exclusive Books staff member can EVER enter an Exclusive Books competition. This is standard terms and conditions for competitions in South Africa. If you resigned, you would have to be out of Exclusive Books for three months before being eligible to win anything. It is an amazing prize, but sadly we just can’t enter.

      We are running an internal staff competition for Untold Stories – please consult with your manager for details as per the store brief.

  7. Amy June 4th, 2014 at 6:41 pm #


    I’m currently on a gap year in Sweden, but I’ll be back in South Africa in the beginning of September and I’ll be starting university next year. Am I still eligible to participate in the competition?

    • Zoe June 5th, 2014 at 7:59 am #

      Hi Amy,

      As long as you are a South African resident, you are more than welcome to enter :) You can send your letter directly to our head office. We are moving to new premises in Kramerville at the end of June, so for now please send your letter to Marketing at Exclusive Books, 4 Biermann Avenue, Rosebank, 2196

  8. Suzy June 6th, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    Hi Zoe,

    Interesting competition – but I have a few questions.

    The rules say over 16 – but is there any age limit on the other end?
    Is the winner able to choose any 3 year undergraduate degree?
    Where it says, under terms and conditions, that Exclusive’s have the right to change the prize – under what circumstances might you and would it to be to something of equivalent value?
    If the prize changed, would the winner then also have the right to withdraw their letter from the final collection if they were not happy with the replacement prize?
    I thank you in advance for your clarifications.

    • Zoe June 10th, 2014 at 9:23 am #

      Hi Suzy,

      Thank you for your questions. There is no upper age limit – the lower age limit is to ensure the prize can be claimed timeously, hence why younger teens can’t enter. The winner can choose ANY undergraduate degree (or the first 3 years of a longer undergraduate course), but it must be with an accredited South African university.

      That’s a general competition condition – it is unlikely that we will change the prize, but legally it is best that we ensure we cover ourselves in case something happens that prevents us from offering the prize as intended. Right now, we can’t really predict what would cause that to happen, or what we would replace the prize with. Should you wish to withdraw your letter, then that should be perfectly fine.

      Looking forward to receiving your entry!

  9. Steve June 7th, 2014 at 8:29 am #

    2 questions: 1) I’m 39 years old – is that too old to enter this competition? And 2) I already have a degree, so if I won, I would like to donate the prize to a deserving previously (and currently) disadvantaged person. Would that not be allowed?

    • Zoe June 10th, 2014 at 9:18 am #

      Hi Steve,

      There is no upper age limit on the competition – we would just like to ensure that if a younger person wins it, they can claim it within two years. Unfortunately the prize is not transferable, for practical and legal reasons, but you are more than welcome to share the competition with others and encourage them to enter.

  10. EL June 7th, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

    I wrote a piece which I believe might win. However, it is only 366 words long. I only saw the rules now. Would there be a form of leniency given to me?

    • Zoe June 10th, 2014 at 9:15 am #

      Hi El,

      We would like the letters to be of a substantial length to match the weight of the prize, but please do send it in and maybe it’ll be the best letter ever! You can write a longer version as well and send that in, if you like.

  11. Charne June 8th, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    I am a semester away from completing my undergraduate course. Would exclusives pay for the remaining semester only or would they pay for the past tuition as well?

    • Zoe June 10th, 2014 at 9:14 am #

      Hi Charne,

      Ideally these questions would be answered after we had chosen what we feel to be the best written letter. Since we don’t know about the winners until we choose them, we would have to take the prize on a case by case basis rather than trying to preempt it before we have even received the letter. Hope this helps!

  12. KeithM June 10th, 2014 at 6:22 am #

    Hi – Given that the prize is for a university degree, does the fact that you ask for the author’s age on each envelope imply that a younger person has more chance to win than an older one (albeit an older one like me that wants to go to university!)?

    • Zoe June 10th, 2014 at 9:11 am #

      Hi Keith,

      We only ask for the author’s age since the prize must be used within two years. No one younger than 16 can enter. The prize is based on merit, not age, and we have no problem at all with sending someone older to university :)

  13. michael June 10th, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

    Do we have to use the topics given or can we use our own initiative in the topic of the letter?

    • Zoe June 11th, 2014 at 7:42 am #

      Hi Michael,

      To try keep the judging fairer and more manageable, we do ask that entrants stick to the fifteen given topics. Interesting takes on those topics are welcome 😉

  14. Ravona June 12th, 2014 at 8:09 am #

    Does the letter have to be based on the given topics?

  15. Ravona June 12th, 2014 at 8:48 am #


    Could you clear this line up for me? “The letter should be written with the intention of being opened far later than expected”.

    I might be over thinking it, but does this mean it must be written to the future\past, or simply a letter in a time period that opened in the future.


    • Zoe June 13th, 2014 at 10:26 am #

      Hi Ravona,

      The idea of a dead letter is that the person who wrote it intended it to be delivered a certain time, but it wasn’t. It got lost, or the address was wrong and it got sent back to the post office and forgotten. The letter should speak to the time it was written in, rather than the time it was opened :)

  16. Robzeeno June 12th, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    Hi Zoe

    The two topics listed above; To My Younger Self and To My Older Self are in fact letters written to oneself and not to a fictitious person; I believe if these topics are chosen; we can use our own names? Or should we utilise pseudonyms?

    • Zoe June 13th, 2014 at 10:25 am #

      Hi Robzeeno,

      It is up to you whether you’d like to write to yourself proper, or to a pseudonym – either one is fine :) If the letter is of quite a personal nature, maybe a pseudonym is better in case it makes it into our anthology and/or wins!

  17. Meg June 18th, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    Hi again. Do you HAVE to choose out of those topics because it doesn’t specify in the rules.
    And can you enter more than once?

  18. Meg June 18th, 2014 at 8:54 am #

    Oops sorry, just saw the comment above about using the topics. But can you enter more than once?

  19. Aquila June 18th, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    Do postgraduate degrees not count? I am currently doing my 1st year of Masters and would like to do my PhD as well. Would I not qualify for this competition?

    • Zoe June 23rd, 2014 at 8:56 am #

      Hi Aquila,

      We have chosen to give the prize as an undergraduate degree in order to help someone realise their goal of going to university. Our feeling is that someone who would use it for postgrad has already had the precious opportunity, and we’d like to set someone up for success with that important first step in tertiary education. However, you’re still welcome to send your letter for possible inclusion in the anthology.

  20. Subhan June 18th, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

    Hey guys. About the prize, what if the course which the student wishes to study is a four year long course? Will he/she be void of the prize or will the prize still be awarded to them for the first 3 years?

  21. Catherine June 19th, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    Will we be sent a receipt saying that our letter was successfully submitted? This usually happens in other writing competitions and it is a relief to know whether your work has been received or not.

    • Zoe June 23rd, 2014 at 8:55 am #

      Hi Catherine,

      We can drop you a line to let you know your letter was received! Please make sure your email address is clearly legible on the back of the envelope. It also helps to prod us to make sure we receive the letter!

      Looking forward to receiving your entry!

  22. Joanne June 19th, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

    Hi quick question. Does the author of every letter retain copywrite of their work.

    • Zoe June 23rd, 2014 at 8:53 am #

      Hi Joanne,

      Every author retains their copyright, but we reserve the right to publish the letters in our anthology. All profits from the anthology will go to our Reading Trust to build libraries in underprivileged communities. Please read our terms and conditions closely to see what rights authors will retain over their work.

  23. Bella June 20th, 2014 at 9:54 am #

    Would the bursary be able to be used for a post-graduate degree?

    • Zoe June 23rd, 2014 at 8:52 am #

      Hi Bella,

      We have chosen to give the prize as an undergraduate degree in order to help someone realise their goal of going to university. Our feeling is that someone who would use it for postgrad has already had the precious opportunity, and we’d like to set someone up for success with that important first step in tertiary education.

  24. Mickey June 20th, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

    I would very much like to enter, but already have a university degree and job and family and extremely busy life – which would make it impossible for me to study again. I would, however, love it if my letter got chosen for the anthology. Could I send my letter, and in the event that I won, decline the prize, let the runner-up have the opportunity, and get my letter in the anthology?

    • Zoe June 23rd, 2014 at 8:51 am #

      Hi Mickey,

      I think we could manage that! Being in the anthology would definitely be a lovely prize all on its own, and we appreciate your generosity.

      Looking forward to receiving your entry!

  25. Subhan June 21st, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

    Just two quick questions.
    1) If the course is a 4 year course, will the scholarship be void or will the first 3 years still be paid for?

    2) Will you guys only feature the winner on Sunday Times, or will there be a section which has honourable mentions on it as well?

    • Zoe June 23rd, 2014 at 8:49 am #

      Hi Subhan,

      We will happily pay for the first three years, but the winner will be responsible for the fourth year’s payment. We’ll only be featuring the winner in the Sunday Times, but we will post honourable mentions on our social media channels.

      Looking forward to receiving your entry!

  26. Kelly June 23rd, 2014 at 8:04 am #

    Hi Zoe,
    What an innovative and exciting opportunity!
    My 17 year old daughter – who was born in South Africa but now lives in Australia – is planning to return to South Africa to study within the next 18 months. Would she be eligible to enter this competition?
    Fingers crossed!

    • Zoe June 23rd, 2014 at 8:48 am #

      Hi Kelly,

      Thank you for the kind words! Of course she can enter! The prize must just be taken up in the next two years.

  27. Ernestina June 23rd, 2014 at 9:05 am #

    Thanks Zoe for the responses and all participants on this forum for asking the important questions I struggled with since last week. This is a tough challenge but I am willing to give it a shot while I still have time. All the best to everyone and Thanks to Exclusive Books for this rather difficult creative exercise :)

    • Zoe June 23rd, 2014 at 9:17 am #

      Only a pleasure, Ernestina! Please do enter soon! Enter a few times! Looking forward to seeing what you do with the topic :)

  28. Dennis Waterhouse June 24th, 2014 at 8:01 am #

    My wife wants to tell her story but it’s almost impossible for her to hand-write as she lost her right arm in an accident and has limited use of her left arm. Is it possible to bend the rules slightly to allow her to participate?

  29. Eloisa Garnica June 24th, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    Hello, i just applied to the university of pretoria and i’m waiting for my letter of acceptance. I’m an international applicant, can i participate in this contest? Thank you

    • Zoe June 24th, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

      Hi Eloisa,

      Unfortunately, this prize is only open to citizens of South Africa and Botswana, as we have a store there. Best of luck with your application!

  30. Cornelia June 27th, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

    Hi Zoe –
    what about permanent residents, can we enter this competition?
    hoping for a YES…

    • Zoe July 11th, 2014 at 9:36 am #

      Hi Cornelia,

      Indeed! Please do enter as soon as you can!

  31. Nazeerah June 27th, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

    Hi Zoe

    Must the writer of the letter be one’s self or must it also be a fictional character?


    • Zoe July 11th, 2014 at 9:35 am #

      Hi Nazeerah,

      Depending on the topic, the letter can be written from you as Nazeerah, or from a fictional character. Since the best letters could be in a public anthology, we do advise that very personal letters (which may be great letters) are written under a pseudonym. Entries close 28th of July!

  32. Dennis Waterhouse June 30th, 2014 at 9:17 am #

    The rules state ‘no family of staff members’ would that exclude the step mother of a casual worker?

  33. Theo Mfhaaldi June 30th, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

    Is the competition available for people from outside from South Africa? I am in Botswana

    • Zoe July 11th, 2014 at 9:33 am #

      Hi Theo,

      As we have a store in Botswana, we would be delighted if our customers there entered as well :)

  34. Sekgametsi July 2nd, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Zoe

    Im considering writing a letter “to my older self” what i want to know how do i go about writing a dead letter to a person i know will only read it in lets say 5 years. Can i structure my letter in such a way that it outlines past events until present day, although this person “knows” the events of the past.


    • Zoe July 11th, 2014 at 9:33 am #

      Hi Sekgametsi,

      The idea of the letter is that the person writing it doesn’t assume it will be ‘dead’, ie undelivered. They’re writing it assuming the person will get it as soon as they can. What will help your letter rise to the top of the pile is mentioning dates or events specific to that time. Your older self will definitely know, but the reader won’t, if that makes sense?

      You can send up to five entries, so give it a bash! Entries close 28th of July :)

  35. Gertie July 3rd, 2014 at 7:51 am #

    Hie Zoe

    This is interesting and I would love to enter. But I want to know if i can participate as I am Zimbabwean living in SA.


    • Zoe July 11th, 2014 at 9:27 am #

      Hi Gertie,

      If you are a permanent resident, then it’ll be fine :) Please do send your entry soon!

  36. ronel koekemoer July 3rd, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

    Hi:) do excited about this competition. I already am enrolled in university, but require the funding for the next three years of my undergraduate degree…is there a possibility I may still enter ?


    • Zoe July 11th, 2014 at 9:26 am #

      Hi Ronel,

      If the best letter belongs to someone already doing an undergrad degree, we will fund the rest of it :)

  37. Hannah July 6th, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    Hi Zoe,

    I know that only South African citizens are eligible, but what if you have been living and going to school here for eight years and plan to study in South Africa as an International student? We have tried to get permanent residence but so far only have study visas.

    • Zoe July 11th, 2014 at 9:23 am #

      Hi Hannah,

      This is a tricky one, and difficult to answer right away without consulting the people who will be making the final call and the allocations. Send in your letter so long, and we’ll consult our lawyers on this :)

  38. Michal July 8th, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

    Hi Zoe,

    Is there a limit to the number of letters we can submit?

    • Zoe July 11th, 2014 at 9:22 am #

      Hi Michal,

      You can send up to five letters per person. Remember, you only have until the 28th of July to enter, so please send your entries soon :)

  39. Ghaleb July 10th, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

    You’ve updated this site since I last looked at it, wrote and entered. There was no requirement then to put your age on the back of the envelope and there was no list of topics. Why shift the goalposts?

    • Zoe July 11th, 2014 at 9:19 am #

      Hi Ghaleb,

      The topics were never a change – they appear on our bookmarks and pamphlets in the stores, and have been a part of the competition ever since we started. As for the age requirement, that was always in the terms and conditions, but people weren’t seeing that, so we thought we’d put it in the body of the text to make that clearer. Hope this helps!

  40. Faiza July 11th, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    Do we write the address for the receiver on the envelope, or only our own details for the competition

  41. Philip de Jager July 14th, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

    I have two questions about the competition.
    1) I turned 16 in January. Am I still viable to win the prize, because it says you can win if you’re going to start University in 2 years.
    2) Can you please explain to me options
    (7) & (8)

    • Zoe July 21st, 2014 at 8:47 am #

      Hi Phillip,

      You’d probably only start uni in three years time, which is a bit too long for our cut-off time :( But you can still enter for a space in the anthology, so don’t give up hope yet!
      Topic 7: Believe Me Ever Yours was once a standard way to sign love letters. It is a great springboard for a love letter.
      Topic 8: Can mean whatever you want it to mean. What ended? Was it a relationship? A fight? A war? A life? Run wild with the idea. Hope this helps!

  42. LyraS July 15th, 2014 at 10:38 am #

    Hello Zoe,

    I was wondering if the submission of an epistolary poem would be accepted?

    Thank you

    • Zoe July 21st, 2014 at 8:43 am #

      Hi Lyra,

      No reason why not! It is a kind of letter, after all. Looking forward to this most unusual entry!

  43. Ronel Steyn July 16th, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    Hi there,
    Sorry to be a pain. I’m sure you must be tired of all the questions.
    Would you be kind enough to let me know exactly what details are required for the back of the envelope?
    For instance, Name and surname, Age, Postal or Physical Address, E-mail Address, Phone number, etc.

    Thank you

    • Zoe July 21st, 2014 at 8:42 am #

      Hi Ronel,

      It’s not a problem at all – we’d rather we got lots of correct entries, so answering questions isn’t too bad. On the back of the envelope, we’d like to have your full name, email address and phone number, and your age. We ask age only to ensure that entrants qualify for the university prize according to our terms and conditions. Entrants under 16 can still enter for a space in the anthology. Hope this helps!

  44. Philip de Jager July 17th, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    Sorry I didn’t type my other question. It says points will be given for appearance. Is that for decorative appearance or for the neatness of your letter?

    • Zoe July 21st, 2014 at 8:38 am #

      The look and feel of the letter does matter, but not nearly as much as the contents. Neat handwriting really will help your letter stand out! Looking forward to receiving your entry :)

  45. Felicia July 21st, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

    I’m assuming the letter needs to be written in standard format (address and date in top right corner)?

    • Zoe July 28th, 2014 at 9:36 am #

      Hi Felicia,

      That would be ideal, but not strictly necessary :)

  46. Beverley Dias July 24th, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    Hi Zoe. My daughter came across this competition and started writing her letter immediately. We dropped it off a few days later, after much editing and fussing. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for her because I feel that she is really deserving of the prize. I’m just going through the T&C’s now and wondering if she still qualifies since she is already doing her First Year at UKZN in Pietermaritzburg. I applied for a Student Loan last year, but did not qualify since I was blacklisted after being retrenched and falling behind on some accounts. I am just wondering if, in her case, the prize would perhaps cover her expenses going forward?

    • Zoe July 28th, 2014 at 9:33 am #

      Hi Beverley,

      If the winner is already doing an undergraduate degree, we will cover the fees going forward. Watch this space for announcements regarding the winner :)

  47. Don N July 24th, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

    few days left to put pen to paper, time to burn the midnight oil. just a question:

    the competition closes at close of business on the 28th July.(Monday) please can you confirm if the ffg branches have the “postbox” instore
    a) Gateway
    b) Pavilion

    Much obliged:)

    • Zoe July 28th, 2014 at 9:32 am #

      Hi Don,

      All of our stores have postboxes, and you can even give your letter to the staff and managers to have them send it straight to head office. Looking forward to receiving your letter!

  48. jess July 24th, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

    Hey so wait. As a 17 year old in school I could be up against 40 year olds with degrees in literature and tons of experience (which lets be honest, really is everything). Im just checking and weighing up my chances.

    • Zoe July 28th, 2014 at 9:31 am #

      Hi Jess,

      You have a point, but those with degrees can’t win, so that evens things out a little :) If your letter is heartfelt and special, it will shine, I promise. Hurry and get your entry in today before your nearest store closes!

  49. Lungi July 28th, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    Hello Zoe,

    I hope that you are keeping well. I have already submitted my letters but just realised that I may have been confused about who is eligible for the prize.

    I have a Bachelor of Commerce but in the event that I won I wanted to study an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree as I am changing career lanes. However, in order to be clear, am I right in saying that any person who has already completed an undergraduate or postgraduate course, degree, or diploma, is not eligible to receive either the bursary or to appear in the anthology? I.e. Is this competition actually only open to those without tertiary education? It isn’t clear to me.

    Thanks :-)

    • Zoe July 29th, 2014 at 9:02 am #

      Hi Lungi,

      Thank you for the query. Indeed, the prize is only open to someone who hasn’t received any tertiary education, as we wish to give someone the wonderful opportunity to study. To give it to someone who has already been to uni would be a missed opportunity for someone who has yet to begin their tertiary education. But you can still earn a place in our anthology!

  50. LyraS July 28th, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

    Sorry to bother you again, but I was wondering after posting your letter how would we know if you have received it or not?


    • Zoe July 29th, 2014 at 9:00 am #

      Hi Lyra,

      You can send a follow-up email with your details to, with all the details you can think of for your letter. Currently swimming in paper, so any extra clues as to appearance etc would be a great help.

  51. Peter Pienaar July 30th, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

    I left my age off the envelope when I submitted my entry. What can I do to correct that?

  52. micaela July 31st, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    hi zoe :-)

    great competition , thank u for the opportunity. could you pls pls check if u received my letter. it was couried from pavillion exclusive books. sent you an email regarding this as well

  53. ivor August 12th, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    when and how will the winner be announced?

    • Zoe August 13th, 2014 at 8:57 am #

      Hi Ivor,

      We have narrowed down the top 30 letters out of the 300 strong contenders we received, so we hope to announce a winner in the next two weeks. Because of the size of the prize and the potential legal issues we must parse, we don’t want to set an absolute date on the announcement. We will announce on social media when we have selected the winner, and print their letter in the Sunday Times should it be feasible. Watch this space!

  54. Zay August 23rd, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    Hi Zoe,

    Is there a way of knowing if our letters have been received?

    • Zoe August 25th, 2014 at 6:00 am #

      Hi Zay,

      You can send an email to with a detailed description of your envelope so that we can check. Chances are it arrived here safely but we were swamped by a veritable pile of letters and haven’t been able to send delivery receipts to all the entrants.

  55. ivor August 23rd, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

    joh, I hope mine is in the 30. I get nervous thinking about it.

  56. ivor August 23rd, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

    is it possible for you to disclose who the top 30 is? it can create further excitement and anticipation.

  57. Ernestina August 26th, 2014 at 2:50 am #

    Hi Zoe,
    Hope you been well.
    I’ve only submitted 1 Letter & I’d like to know, should it not make it on the shortlist will it be possible for me to have it back?
    I submitted at Clearwater shopping mall.

    • Zoe September 5th, 2014 at 11:50 am #

      Hi Ernestina,

      You can see the shortlist here: If you would like your letter back, please send details such as what your letter looks like and we’ll send it back to Clearwater for your collection :) Your letter may be in the top 100, which we’ll announce at a later date once we have selected the winner. Thank you for entering!

  58. Tasmi Quazi August 29th, 2014 at 7:51 am #

    Hi Zoe and Exclusive Books team,

    My dear friend entered this competition, and I am aware that you said that the winner will be announced in late August in the Sunday Times. Can we expect it this Sunday the 31st of August or was it announced already last Sunday the 24th of August?

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind regards.

    • Zoe September 5th, 2014 at 11:48 am #

      Hi Tasmi,

      We’ve only been able to narrow down the vast number of entries we received to the top 30, which we’ve announced here:

      We hope to make an announcement soon for the winner once we have cleared all hurdles. Watch this space!

  59. Michelle Christie August 29th, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

    Hi Zoe
    I’d just like to check when the announcements for the 30 finalists will be made. I’m really keen for the results!
    Many thanks

  60. Chin Beley September 1st, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    Hi Zoe, I didn’t see. Any results for 31 Aug in Sunday Times. Have the results of the competition been published yet? My daughter is an entrant.

    • Zoe September 5th, 2014 at 11:47 am #

      Hi Chin,

      We have created a list of finalists – please have a look here: We’ll announce the winner shortly – due to the magnitude of the prize, it is something we have to legally and financially double-check before we make an announcement. Watch this space!

  61. Lilly September 6th, 2014 at 7:07 am #

    If I want to study medicine will the prize be valid for the first 3 years?

  62. Jasmin September 7th, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

    Hi sorry to bother but I realised I left my age off the back of my envelope as I made the shortlist this might be important? Im 18 turning 19 on the 18th of this month. Sorry for the inconvenience. Jasmin Knopp

  63. Amy September 14th, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    Hi Zoe,

    How many stories will the anthology publish?

  64. Faiza October 1st, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    Hi, when will the winner from the top 30 be announced?

  65. Phumzile Mkhize October 3rd, 2014 at 7:23 am #

    Phumzile Mkhize

    If you are younger than sixteen will you still be allowed to enter and win.

  66. Kim October 5th, 2014 at 6:36 am #

    I don’t think my spirit has the strength to withstand another week of anticipation.

  67. Nusrat July 26th, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

    I was looking forward to the anthology so much.

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