Write a travel article and win a trip for two to Kyrgyzstan

Can you write a winning travel article? If you think so, don't miss the chance to enter the Bradt/Independent on Sunday travel-writing competition. First prize is an exciting holiday for two to Kyrgyzstan, and the winning story will also be published in The Independent on Sunday's The Compact Traveller section, and the author will earn a commission from the newspaper.

We have again teamed up with Bradt Travel Guides (bradtguides.com), publisher of both pioneering guides to off-beat destinations and guides with unique perspectives on more popular places. The competition is open to all writers, published or unpublished. The theme this year is "The Heart of the City" and entries must contain a strong travel element. The maximum length is 800 words. The competition also includes a prize category specifically for unpublished writers.

The Independent on Sunday will publish the winning entry and offer a commission for a 1,200-word article based on the winner's prize holiday. The exciting prize is a seven-night holiday for two in Kyrgyzstan. Flights have been generously donated by bmi (flybmi.com), the second largest airline at London Heathrow operating more than 1,800 flights a week, while Regent Holidays (regent-holidays.co.uk) is arranging a fabulous itinerary, including tours of Bishkek and Karakol, and visits to the alpine Altyn-Arasham Valley and the red cliffs of Jety-Oguz Gorge.

The prize in the unpublished writers' category is a place on a travel-writing course in Granada, Spain, kindly provided by Travellers' Tales, the UK's leading training agency for travel writing and photography. (Go to travellerstales.org for more details.)

The judges will be the editorial staff of Bradt Travel Guides, Jonathan Lorie of Travellers' Tales and the travel editor of The Independent on Sunday. The final winners will be selected by Douglas Schatz, managing director of the UK's leading travel bookshop, Stanfords. The closing date is noon on Friday 16 May 2008. The shortlisted entrants will be invited to the prize-giving ceremony at Stanfords in London on Tuesday 22 July 2008.

Competition Rules

1) The competition is open to all writers over 18 years old, other than current employees, or regular contributors, or their immediate families, of Bradt Travel Guides Ltd, The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. No purchase is necessary.

2) There are two categories in the competition: one for "published" writers and one for "unpublished" writers. "Unpublished" means never having been paid for any piece of writing which has appeared in print or on the internet. There will be a winner in each category, one of whom will be judged the overall winner. In the event of an unpublished writer being judged the overall winner, then he/she will be given the holiday in Kyrgyzstan and another unpublished writer will be chosen and given the place on the travel-writing course.

3) Only one entry per person.

4) The essay must be no longer than 800 words and must be typed with single-line spacing on one side of A4 pages. We cannot return entries.

5) To preserve anonymity when judging, you must not write your name on the article and your name and address should not appear on your entry.

6) The essay must have a single identifying tag word (not your name) at the top right-hand corner of each page. You should also write this word on the front of a sealed envelope, together with the word either "Published" or "Unpublished" indicating the category you want to enter. Inside the envelope should be a sheet of paper with your name, address, email address and telephone number. These details may be shared with the six competition partners unless otherwise requested by the you on the sheet of paper containing your contact details.

7) Your entry must not have been entered in any other competition anywhere in the world, or have previously been published.

8) The article must be the original work of the entrant who must be the sole copyright holder.

9) The writers of the two winning entries and any runners-up agree, by entering the competition, that The Independent on Sunday and Bradt Travel Guides shall have the right to publish, distribute and syndicate the essays whether in print, electronic, online or any other medium, on any website and in any database, archive or library, on- or off-line, and in any media.

10) Once the winners are announced, entrants other than the winners can use their pieces in whatever way they choose.

11) The competition organisers reserve the right to withhold prizes in whole or in part if, in the sole opinion of the judges, the standard of the entries so warrants.

12) The judges' opinion is final. No correspondence will be entered into concerning the final choice of winners.

13) The commission for the article based on the prize-winner's trip to Kyrgyzstan shall be subject to payment of the appropriate fee and to The Independent's standard freelance rights terms (see www.independent.co.uk) and will be published at the Editor's discretion.

14) The holiday prize consists of a pair of economy flights with bmi, subject to availability in the appropriate booking class, from Heathrow to Bishkek plus land arrangements supplied by Regent Holidays. This must be booked by 30 September 2008 and travel must be completed by 22 July 2009. There are no blackout dates but it will be subject to availability at the time of booking. Transfers to Heathrow airport are not included in the prize. The winner must complete and sign a Regent Holidays booking form and will, therefore, be bound by Regent's booking conditions. The overseas travel-writing course must be taken by 31 December 2009. There are no cash alternatives to the prizes, and they cannot be transferred.

15) Entries must be sent to Bradt Travel Guides (Travel-Writing Competition), 23 High Street, Chalfont St Peter, Bucks SL9 9QE. Emailed entries will not be accepted.

16) All entries must be received by noon on the closing date, Friday 16 May 2008.

17) The shortlisted entrants will be notified by phone by 17 June 2008, and the winning article published in The Independent on Sunday at a date to be confirmed.

18) Please refer to www.independent.co.uk/legal for further terms and conditions relating to The Independent and The Independent on Sunday's competition rules.

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