NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize


The NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize is an exciting award for writers holding New Zealand citizenship or who are permanent residents of New Zealand. The prize, which celebrates the life and work of the writer Laura Solomon is open to published and unpublished authors who are invited to enter manuscripts written across genres ie fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, drama or children’s writing, to be judged within the criteria set by Laura Solomon, for new writing with a ‘unique and original vision’.

The NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize will give a cash award as an ‘advance’ of NZ$1000 and a publishing contract supplied by The Cuba Press. The Cuba Press will edit, design, print, market, distribute and promote the book and e-book and pay standard author royalties. The NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize will pay for the book production and printing. This prize paves the way for new and exciting writing to make its way into the market place and is an exciting addition to our sponsored awards.

The prize is judged by a panel of three made up of one New Zealand literary figure, a representative from the Solomon family and one Cuba Press representative. A shortlist will be presented to this panel, annually.

The New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa (PEN NZ Inc) administers the prize. Entries for the NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize must be made on the New Zealand Society of Author’s website ( by the advertised deadline, with the winner announced after judging has been completed.

Previous winners of this prize are Lizzie Harwood (inaugural winner 2021), Rachel J Fenton (2022), Lee Murray (2023), Tracy Farr (2024.

NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize applications for 2024 opened 5 Nov 2023 and closed 15 March 2024

(Once you have submitted your application form you will be emailed a copy of your application along with information about payment of the application fee. Please check your junk / spam folder if you do not see the email in your inbox.)

  1. Terms and Conditions for the NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize
  2. Application form

History of the Prize

The Solomon family has established the NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize to honour the creative legacy of a beloved daughter, sister, and aunt.  “Laura’s passion for writing was a constant through her life, and for many years she expressed a desire to make a bequest that would allow other writers to pursue their passion,” says family spokesperson Nicky Solomon.

Laura Solomon was a longstanding and active member of the New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa (PEN NZ Inc), and she is much missed by the society. Laura kept writing novels and plays for quite a number of years after being affected by a brain tumour which was discovered while she working at a high-end IT job in London.

She was a keen participant at Top of the South Writing Retreats, attended Writers at Lunchtime meetings when her health allowed, and was a truly dedicated writer.

In her review of Laura’s short story collection Alternative Medicine, Jessica Le Bas wrote: ‘The hallmark of Solomon … was to pull no punches and aim for the jugular when it came to working up the surreal, and the macabre.’

The directors of The Cuba Press, Sarah Bolland, and Mary McCallum, are delighted to be involved with the Laura Solomon Prize. “Laura Solomon was one of those rare talents with a wild imagination,” says Mary McCallum, “who sadly didn’t have enough time to make her mark on the literary world. We think this is a very positive step to set up a prize in her name, and we are looking forward to working with the New Zealand Society of Authors and the Laura Solomon Trust to discover and publish talented new writers with wild imaginations who need this kind of practical support to make their mark.


LAURA SOLOMON BA (Hons) MSc – Author (1974 – 2019)

Novelist, playwright, poet, and software developer, Laura Solomon died suddenly on 18 Feb 2019 aged 44 after a 10-year struggle with a brain tumour.

Laura had her first novel Black Light published when she was 22 and she was writing until the day she died.

Listen to Laura talk with RNZ’s Lynn Freeman about her novel An Imitation of Life. Gail Woods reads an extract of the novel as part of the audio.


Listen to Laura talk with RNZ’s Lynn Freeman about her short story collection Alternative Medicine. Liz McLeod reads an extract of a story from the collection as part of the audio.

A selection of Laura’s work is available in most public libraries and from Kindle or Amazon.

Life is short, art is long,

Here it is, my insignificant attempt at living forever,

The arrow flies from the bow, but bent,

Falling far short of the mark.

Laura Solomon