Are you an African foodie? Do you cook an irresistible African meal? 

The popularity of African (West, South, North, East and Central) cuisine is increasing rapidly, and Red Magazine is offering one lucky foodie an opportunity of a lifetime. A chance to win a cookbook deal with publishers HarperCollins, £10,000 and your recipe to feature in an issue of Red Magazine? (click here – to enter competition)

Leslie Leigh, the founder of West Africa Cooks (who is also one of the judges of the competition) has shared with IC-FREE valuable advice to increase your chances of winning:

The first thing to do is find out about these industries (food and publishing), the processes and the people that work in them. These editors know about publishing and writing to a target market. Do some research online about who these people are, their general background and motivations. Now look at the audience that reads Red magazine and similar cookbooks. Don’t forget to take notes on the target audience of Red magazine, see and for the demographics.

The second thing to do is get a physical copy Red magazine. Once you have a copy, get a feeling of it, look at the cover, feel the pages and consider the price. Think about what would it would be like to receive this magazine in the post.

Get comfortable and read the magazine, note the colours, text, images, and layout. Observe the style, features, pictures, adverts, and brands. After you’ve read it once, read it, again! Think about who else is reading the magazine and why? Make sure you read the ‘living section’ and take a look at the recipes. Also, consider the language that’s used; who does it appeal too?

More Critical Insight:

Take a look at a few HarperCollins cooking books. Ask yourself – What helps sell these books? Also, it is important to take a look at the cover image, title, the brief description, and reviews of the book. What would your book title be and why? Think about and try to answer these questions. Do some research and find out about the most recently published African cookbook.

Now you’ve done some research on the market, let’s take a look at the details on what the judges will be marking on. The competition application involves descriptive writing, and your passion for African food needs to show through your words and pictures. In essence, you should think of this as a creative writing competition; you’ll need to submit five recipes (100 words each) that must include at least one vegetarian dish, one dessert, plus ten recipe suggestions. You’ll also need to write 1,000 words on – who you are, what you do, your approach to food cooking and how you got to where you are.

Get to Know The Panel

Pip McCormac, Lifestyle Director of The Red Magazine. 
Twitter – @pipmccormac

Grace Cheetham, Publishing Director at HarperCollins.
Website –
Twitter – @glutenfreegrace

Henna Butt, Food Editor of Media Diversified.
Facebook –
Twitter – @WritersofColour

Ronke Lawal, entrepreneur, and African food blogger.
Website – and
Twitter – @ronkelawal

Jessica Laditan, founder of Pop Up Africa.
Twitter – @AatSpitalfields

Leslie Leigh, founder of West Africa Cooks
Website –
Twitter – @westafricacooks

The prize is a big one the winner will be able to network with influential people, which could potentially arise to more fruitful opportunities.

To enter the competition, click here –

Good luck!

Writer – Leslie Leigh

Founder of West Africa Cooks – “West Africa Cooks loves to find and promote new talent in African food.”

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