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Judges Announced for CWIP Prize

The Comedy Women in Print Prize 2019 (CWIP) today announces the full line-up of celebrated ‘witty’ women judges for the award’s inaugural year. Officially launched at the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2018, the CWIP Prize was created by actress, author and stand-up Helen Lederer in response to the lack of support and exposure for female comedy writing and as a way of discovering and nurturing new talent.

Leading comedy writers Katy Brand, Susan Calman, Jenny Éclair , Kathy Lette and Shazia Mirza join the bestselling founder judges Marian Keyes and Allison Pearson for this major new literary award.


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HarperFiction to team up with the Comedy Women in Print Prize for unpublished writers

A major new award for witty women, the Comedy Women in Print (CWIP) Prize, today announced that they are joining forces with HarperFiction.  The publisher will offer the winning aspiring, comic female novelist a publishing contract and £5,000 advance. The runner-up will receive a free place on the MA course in Creative Writing at the University of Hertfordshire.

The CWIP Prize, officially launched at the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2018, was created by actress and stand-up comedienne Helen Lederer in response to the lack of support and exposure for female comedy writing and as a way of discovering and nurturing new talent. Judges announced for the award to date include international bestselling writers, Marian Keyes and Allison Pearson and Dr Jennifer Young, English and Creative Writing Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire. Martha Ashby, Editorial Director, HarperFiction will join the judging panel for the unpublished award.

Speaking about their support for the Award, Martha Ashby, Editorial Director, HarperFiction says:

‘I’m absolutely delighted to support CWIP’s prize for unpublished writers in 2019. There are so many hilarious female writers in the UK and this prize is the perfect opportunity to shine a spotlight on an area of fiction that is often overlooked.

Helen Lederer, founder of CWIP says: ‘I thought it was Christmas when Marian and Allison came on board (people tend to swoon at the mention of their names and rightly so) but when HarperFiction came through with this unique and serious offer to publish new work…Well, I had to sit down. It proves that witty female fiction is being taken seriously from the top down. I love HarperFiction for doing this. They will not be sorry…and they will definitely laugh more.   

Entrants to the unpublished category are asked to submit a one-page synopsis and the first 5,000 words of their comedy novel, which, when completed must be at least 85,000 words in length. Entrants can be of any nationality but must be over 18-years-old. For more details about CWIP and full terms and conditions visit

Alongside the award for an unpublished writer, the CWIP Prize will also offer an award for Comedy Writing by a published author with a prize fund of £2,000. Entrants can be of any nationality but must be over the age of 18 and have written a novel of at least 50,000. The closing date for both awards is 28th February 2019. 


  • 28th February 2019Closing Date for submissions
  • 30th May 2019CWIP shortlist announcement.
  • 10th July 2019: CWIP winners’ event and announcement


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BBC NSSA 2019 judges announced

The BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University (NSSA) today calls for submissions for the 14th year with broadcaster Nikki Bedi chairing the judging panel for 2019. Nikki is a television and radio broadcaster who writers and presents The Arts Hour on BBC World Service and BBC Radio London.

Nikki’s counterpart on the BBC Young Writers’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University (YWA) is BBC Radio 1 and CBBC Book Club presenter Katie Thistleton, who will chair the judging panel for the teenage award for the second time as it opens for submissions for the fifth year. Katie is the co-presenter of Radio 1’s Life Hacks and author of Dear Katie: Real Problems, Real Advice.


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In lieu of Christmas cards, this year EDPR have donated to BookTrust’s Christmas Appeal 2018.

For many children, this may be the first time they have had a letter or parcel through the post. For some, these may be the first books they’ve owned.

It’s a brilliant cause and the gift of books can really make a difference to vulnerable children.

Please donate here if you can.



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Ingrid Persaud wins thirteenth BBC NSSA

Trinidadian writer Ingrid Persaud has won the thirteenth BBC National Short Story Award for ‘The Sweet Sop’, her first short story about a young Trinidadian man reunited with his absent father via the power of chocolate. Described by judge and previous winner of the award, K J Orr as “tender and ebullient, heartbreaking and full of humour”, the story’s unique voice and emotional power were further praised by judge and former shortlistee, Benjamin Markovits saying “Sentimentality is hard to write well… ‘The Sweet Sop’ gets the balance just right, the anger and humour and love.”

Ingrid Persaud was presented with the prize of £15,000 this evening (Tuesday 2 October) by the 2018 Chair of Judges, Stig Abell, at a ceremony held at Cambridge University. The news was announced live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, during a special programme celebrating the short story. ‘The Sweet Sop’ is available to listen to at, read by Leemore Marrett Junior.


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BBC YWA shortlist announced

‘Sophisticated’, ‘mature’ and ‘awe-inspiring’: just some of the words used to describe the diverse and powerful stories that make up the shortlist for the 2018 BBC Young Writers’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University announced on BBC Radio 1’s Life Hacks show on Sunday 23 September.

The five stories, inspired by a desire for socio-political change or personal experience of mental illness, were written by young writers aged 15 to 18 years old, with each showing a maturity of language and ideas far beyond their years. Whether it be the brutal life of a unwilling young poacher; the desperation and prejudice faced by a mother fighting to give her daughter a better life; the experience of loss seen through a child’s eyes; the guilt of unspoken words as a family struggle to cope with mental illness or the pain of a young girl watching her sister in the grip of anorexia – the finalists have given powerful insight into the issues facing and motivating young people today and the importance of writing as expression.


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All female shortlist for thirteenth BBC National Short Story award

Composer Kerry Andrew and newcomers Kiare Ladner, Ingrid Persaud and Nell Stevens complete a shortlist of writers exploring the personal, universal and the political.

Sarah Hall, prize-winning novelist and short story writer, has been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University for the third time for ‘Sudden Traveller’. She won the award in 2013 for ‘Mrs Fox’ and was shortlisted for the first time in 2010 for ‘Butcher’s Perfume’. Both stories appeared in her debut collection, The Beautiful Indifference.

Hall is joined on the shortlist by composer and debut novelist Kerry Andrew for ‘To Belong To’, Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner and debut novelist Ingrid Persaud for ‘The Sweet Sop’, rising talent Kiare Ladner for ‘Van Rensburg’s Card’ and creative writing lecturer and novelist Nell Stevens for ‘The Minutes’. The shortlist of five stories was announced this evening, Friday 14 September 2018, during BBC Radio 4’s Front Row.

Selected from nearly 800 entries (an increase of 28% on 2017), this year’s shortlist is the fifth all-female shortlist in the BBC National Short Story Award’s history. The shortlist is:

• ‘To Belong To’ by Kerry Andrew
• ‘Sudden Traveller’ by Sarah Hall
• ‘Van Rensburg’s Card’ by Kiare Ladner
• ‘The Sweet Sop’ by Ingrid Persaud
• ‘The Minutes’ by Nell Stevens


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Authors’ Awards winners announced

Writers and poets from across the globe celebrated last night (Thursday 19th July) as the 2018 Authors’ Awards were announced by the Society of Authors at a ceremony at RIBA. Hosted by Stephen Fry with an introduction by the President of the SoA, Philip Pullman, eight awards were presented to 31 writers with a host of debut names joining recognised writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry to share a prize fund of £98,000.

This ‘night of riches’, uniquely judged by writers for writers saw over 400 guests from across the publishing industry come together as the winners of the Betty Trask, McKitterick, Tom-Gallon Trust and Somerset Maugham awards were announced in addition to the Cholmondeley Awards for outstanding contribution to poetry, the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography, five Travelling Scholarships and the Eric Gregory Award for a collection of poems by poets under 30. The winners join an illustrious line of previous winners including Zadie Smith, Seamus Heaney, Helen Dunmore, Hari Kunzru, Carol Ann Duffy and Mark Haddon.

Speaking about the Authors’ Awards Joanne Harris, judge for the Betty Trask Prize and Awards, and SoA Council and Management Committee Member, said:

“The Authors’ Awards are among the most exciting and important literary awards around, and I’m honoured to be a part of them. Awarded to authors by authors, they’re not designed to showcase celebrities or promote high-profile sponsors; just to honour writers and to bring their talent to the public’s attention. This year we have an especially interesting and impressive group of shortlistees and winners, and as a judge of the Betty Trask Prize, I’ve always been impressed by the scope and diversity of the entrants.”

The winners are:


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Authors’ Awards Shortlists

The shortlists for the Betty Trask, McKitterick, Tom-Gallon and Somerset Maugham awards were announced by the The Society of Authors today (Wednesday 13th June) with Man Booker nominated Fiona Mozley, 2014 Tom-Gallon award winner Benjamin Myers, Eric Gregory award winning poet Miriam Nash, Irish writers Valerie O’Riordan and Chris Connolly and debut novelists Eli Goldstone, Omar Robert Hamilton, Masande Ntshanga and Sarah Day among the 22 shortlisted names.

The four prizes will be awarded at The Authors’ Awards on Thursday 19th July, a unique night of riches with all the awards judged by authors for authors. The event has rewarded the early works of some of today’s most prominent literary figures such as Zadie Smith, Seamus Heaney, Helen Dunmore, Hari Kunzru, Carol Ann Duffy and Mark Haddon and the evening will see the UK’s biggest literary fund of more than £98,000 awarded to established and emerging writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

The judges for each award, including Joanne Harris, Samantha Shannon, Frances Fyfield, Abir Mukherjee, Irenosen Okojie, Jen Campbell and Paul Bailey, were united in their praise for ‘compelling, sophisticated, original and emotionally charged’ writing with stories taking the reader from the landscapes of rural and urban Britain and on to the streets of Cairo, Cape Town, Australia and beyond, via themes of grief, love, justice, family and revolution.



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Reading Well for mental health

The ‘life-saving’ 2018 ‘Reading Well for mental health’ titles from The Reading Agency and Society of Chief Librarians will be celebrated today at a flagship event at the Wellcome Trust (5 June). Each title offers invaluable support to people with mental health needs and their carers, who are at increased risk of loneliness according to recent research.

2018’s powerful list, which will help people to understand and manage their mental health includes titles by bestselling and highly-regarded authors including Matt Haig (Reasons to Stay Alive); Cathy Rentzenbrink (A Manual for Heartache); Sathnam Sanghera (The Boy with the Topknot); Ruby Wax (A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled) and many more.

Matt Haig, Reading Well author, says: “Reading Well is an absolutely brilliant scheme that recognises the true proven therapeutic power of words. It will help people facing mental struggles to feel understood, and to get help. This scheme will improve, and maybe even save, many lives.”


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The British Book Awards 2018

We are delighted that Emma Draude and Rosi Crawley (Walker Books) were awarded Publicity Campaign of the Year at the British Book Awards 2018 last night for their campaign for The Hate U Give


“This is a great success story in a market where it’s not easy to make an impact,” judges said. “It was a phenomenal campaign which achieved a huge amount of coverage and provided an outstanding base for the marketing and sales teams. They nailed everything they set out to do, and the community engagement made it extra special.”

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was a joint winner of Children’s Book of the Year, alongside The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. It was described by the judges as “a game changer for both YA fiction and BAME publishing”.

We are also incredibly proud of Philip Pullman for winning Author of the Year, particularly as we had the pleasure of working with him and David Fickling Books on Daemon Voices last year.


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Society of Authors ‘Authors’ Awards’ announces Stephen Fry as host

Award-winning actor, presenter and director, Stephen Fry will present the 2018 Authors’ Awards alongside a panel of celebrated judges to include Joanne Harris, Francis Fyfield, Samantha Shannon, Tahmima Anam, Pascale Petit, Inua Ellams and Jen Campbell, the Society of Authors announced today.

The annual night of riches which has rewarded the early works of some of today’s most prominent literary figures such as Zadie Smith, Seamus Heaney, Helen Dunmore, Hari Kunzru, Carol Ann Duffy and Mark Haddon and honoured the careers of established figures including Dylan Thomas, Fay Weldon, William Golding and Margaret Drabble, sees the UK’s biggest literary fund of more than £98,000 awarded to more than 20 established and emerging writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The Authors’ Awards will take place at RIBA on the evening of Thursday 19th July and will play host to 400 guests from across publishing and SoA membership.

 “I’m delighted to be presenting the Authors’ Awards on 19th July. It’ll be an incredibly rich night, and not only for the £90,000 in prizes ready to be shared with the winners. It isn’t about naming a single winning book – it’s about rewarding a wide range of writers for a wide range of writing, and that in itself makes it unique.”
Stephen Fry

In a unique evening of celebration – with all the awards chosen by authors for authors – eight key awards will be announced, each judged by celebrated authors, writers and poets; many former winners themselves. The shortlist for the Awards will be announced on Wednesday 13th June 2018.

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We have been shortlisted for a British Book Award!

Our campaign for The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, with Rosi Crawley from Walker Books, has been shortlisted for Publicity Campaign of the Year in the British Book Awards 2018.

The Hate U Give has also been shortlisted for Children’s Book of the Year, and Emma is over the moon to be recognised alongside such fantastic titles and other expert publicity campaigns.

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#TheHateUGive wins the PPC’s Best YA Campaign 2017

We are delighted that Emma Draude and Rosi Crawley (Walker Books) were awarded The YALC Award for Best YA Campaign at the PPC Annual Awards last night.

The awards recognise the best campaigns carried out by publicists in 2017.

We are very proud to have worked on such an important book with an incredible debut author, and we cannot wait for the release of Angie Thomas’ next book, On The Come Up, out 7th June 2018.

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Quick Reads 2018 titles launched

The 2018 Quick Reads titles are released by The Reading Agency today (1 February), with the six bestselling authors sharing their inspirational personal stories about the transformative impact books have had on their lives. Reading has transported each of them – whether it be from poverty, depression or isolation – and it is the liberating power of books that makes the Quick Reads initiative so vital. The page-turning 2018 Quick Reads are penned by bestsellers Fern Britton, Dorothy Koomson, Mark Billingham, Kit de Waal, Tammy Cohen and Vaseem Khan.


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Salt Creek chosen for WHSmith Fresh Talent promotion

We are delighted to share that Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar has been announced as one of WHSmith’s Fresh Talent picks for Winter 2018!

The Bookseller has reported today that Salt Creek, published by Aardvark Bureau, the world fiction imprint of the Belgravia Books Collective, was one of five independent publisher picks for the list. Additionally, of the 12 titles selected, nine were written by women.

The Fresh Talent promotion highlights emerging authors and will be featured in more than 50 of the retailer’s Travel stores across the UK from Thursday 1st February.


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BBC National Short Story Award

TV’s Mel Giedroyc and Katie Thistleton chair 2018
panels of judges as the prestigious
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BBC Young Writers’ Award call for submissions &

The BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University (NSSA) today calls for submissions for the 13th year with television presenter, author and actress Mel Giedroyc chairing the judging panel for the 2018 award. Mel, who has co-hosted a myriad of television shows including The Great British Bake-Off, has written two books From Here to Maternity (2005) and Going Ga-Ga (2007). Mel’s counterpart on the BBC Young Writers’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University (YWA) is BBC Radio 1 and CBBC’s Book Club presenter Katie Thistleton, who will chair the judging panel for the teenage award as it opens for submissions for the fourth year.

Mel Giedroyc, Chair of the BBC National Short Story Award Judging Panel, says:

“It’s a great honour to be chairing the BBC National Short Story Award for 2018 and very exciting that it has a new association with the University of Cambridge. I love stories of all kinds and am an avid reader – by my bed at the moment I’ve got some weighty material – Victor Hugo, the London A-Z, Thomas Mannso to immerse myself in the very best stories from celebrated British writers will be a huge pleasure. We live in such a fast-paced world that the short story acts as a perfect meditation. Although I know that choosing a winner from the wonders that we will receive will not be easy, I’m ready for the challenge.”

Katie Thistleton, Chair of the BBC Young Writers’ Award Judging Panel says:

“I’m a complete book worm so to chair the BBC Young Writers’ Award and find the authors of tomorrow will not only be incredibly exciting, but a huge pleasure. I’ve interviewed many bestselling writers, but this feels even more of an honour as we will be discovering the next generation of original voices. Having read the winning stories from previous years I know I, and my fellow judges, will be inspired and enthralled in equal measure.”

Giedroyc and Thistleton will be joined by an esteemed group of award-winning writers and poets on their respective panels. For the BBC National Short Story Award: short story writer and 2016 BBC NSSA winner, K J Orr and Granta’s ‘20 under 40’ novelist, Benjamin Markovits, one of last year’s shortlisted writers, returning judge, Di Speirs, Books Editor at BBC Radio, and multi award winning poet and Cambridge alumni Sarah Howe. For the BBC Young Writers’ Award, Thistleton will lead Carnegie Medal-winning YA author and former teacher, Sarah Crossan, celebrated poet Dean Atta, adult and YA author William Sutcliffe and bestselling author, actress, singer and vlogger, Carrie Hope Fletcher.

The BBC National Short Story Award is one of the most prestigious for a single short story, with the winning author receiving £15,000, and four further shortlisted authors £600 each. The shortlisted writers for the BBC Young Writers’ Award will have their stories featured on the BBC Radio 1, Cambridge University and First Story websites, with the winner’s story broadcast on the radio station. In addition, a new initiative, the BBC Student Critics’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University (SCA), will give selected 16-18 year olds around the UK the opportunity to read, discuss and critique the five shortlisted NSSA stories from Easter 2018.

Last year’s winner of the BBC National Short Story Award was Cynan Jones for his ‘exhilarating, terrifying and life-affirming’ story ‘The Edge of the Shoal’ with previous alumni including Lionel Shriver, Zadie Smith, Hilary Mantel, Jon McGregor and William Trevor. The winner of the 2017 Young Writers’ Award was 17-year-old Elizabeth Ryder for her ‘sophisticated’ and ‘original’ story ‘The Roses’. Previous winners are Brennig Davies for ‘Skinning’ and Lizzie Freestone for ‘Ode to a Boy Musician’.

2018 will be the first year of a new and exciting collaboration between the BBC and partners First Story and the University of Cambridge. The charity First Story will support the YWA and BBC SCA with further activity that will engage young people with reading, writing and listening to short stories. The University of Cambridge will support all three awards, including hosting a short story symposium at the Institute of Continuing Education on 7th July 2018, and curating an exclusive online exhibition of artefacts drawn from the University Library’s archive, to inspire and intrigue potential entrants of the YWA.

Di Speirs, Editor of Books at BBC Radio and judge of the Award since its launch, says:

“It’s that wonderfully exciting time of the year when we begin our search for the outstanding, haunting, surprising short stories of 2018. Every year the BBC National Short Story Award opens my eyes to new writers and exceptional short stories and I can’t wait to read the submissions that will come our way. With a new partnership and lots of plans, especially for younger writers and readers, it’s going to be a big year – but at its heart will still be the very best short story writing in the UK.”

Mónica Parle, Executive Director at First Story says:

“At First Story, we know from experience the pleasure and power that writing gives young people, and we urge any young writers between the ages of 14 and 18 to consider submitting a story for the Young Writers’ Award. This award offers a unique opportunity to bring your work to the attention of our expert judges and, potentially, BBC Radio 1 and 4 listeners. If you are a parent, teacher or librarian, please encourage the young people you know to take this brilliant opportunity, and look out for further information in due course about the Student Critics’ Award. The BBC Young Writers’ Award and Student Critics Award together create an unparalleled avenue to nurture and celebrate young people’s creativity critical thinking skills. We look forward to your entries.”                   

Prof. Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge says:

“The University of Cambridge has a proud tradition of nurturing literary talent, educating many people who have gone on to become our most successful novelists and short story writers. From undergraduate students to the adults, of all backgrounds and ages, who discover the joy and importance of creative writing at our Institute of Continuing Education’s Centre for Creative Writing, Cambridge inspires and encourages new writers. We are delighted that through this partnership with the BBC and First Story we can reach out to a wider audience and inspire more people to unlock their creative potential.”

Full ‘Terms and Conditions’ for both awards are available with submissions accepted online at and from 9am today (11th December 2017). The deadline for receipt of entries for the BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University is 9am (GMT) Monday 12th March 2018. The deadline for receipt of entries for the BBC Young Writers’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University is 9am (GMT) Monday 19th March 2018.

The shortlist for the BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University will be announced on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row at 7.15pm on Friday 14th September 2018. Readings of the shortlisted stories will broadcast on BBC Radio 4 from Monday 17th to Friday 21st September and interviews with the shortlisted writers will air from Friday 14th September 2018 on Front Row. The shortlist for the BBC Young Writers’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University will be announced on BBC Radio 1’s Life Hacks at 4pm on Sunday 23rd September 2018.

The announcement of the winners of the two awards will be broadcast live from the Award ceremony in Cambridge on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row from 7.15pm on Tuesday 2nd October 2018.


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Cynan Jones wins BBC National Short Story Award


Welsh novelist and TV scriptwriter, Cynan Jones, has beaten a host of writers including three of Granta’s recent ‘20 under 40’ to the coveted BBC National Short Story Award with BookTrust 2017 for his story ‘The Edge of the Shoal’. Described by writer and judge, Jon McGregor as a ‘genuinely thrilling’ piece of writing with ‘a completeness of vision and execution that made it an inevitable winner’, it was praised by fellow writer and judge Eimear McBride for its ‘tenderly devastating exploration of the body as it hangs outside time’ and for being ‘as perfect a short story as I’ve ever read’.

Cynan Jones was presented with the prize of £15,000 this evening (Tuesday 3 October) by the 2017 Chair of Judges, Joanna Trollope, at a ceremony held in the BBC’s Radio Theatre in London. The news was announced live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, during a special programme celebrating the short story.

Jon McGregor, writer and judge commented: “The Edge of the Shoal’ does something genuinely thrilling with the confines of the short story: for 6000 words the reader exists only in the lived present moment, in a mental space where life is stripped to its bare essentials. There is no space here for recollection or speculation, no rueful observation or commentary. There are simply the raw bleeding details of survival. It’s an exhilarating, terrifying, and life-affirming read. A stunning achievement, and a deserved winner of the prize.’

Fellow writer and judge, Eimear McBride commented: ‘I’ve thought about The Edge of the Shoal’ most days since first reading it, months ago. Not the immaculate construction, or modernising take on the ‘man versus nature’ tale, but its tenderly devastating exploration of the body as it hangs outside time. It is as perfect a short story as I’ve ever read and works on the reader like an invasion, as all the best literature should.’


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BBC Young Writers’ Award

shortlist announced


‘Unique’, ‘distinctive’ and ‘assured’: just some of the words used to describe the highly original stories that make up the shortlist for the BBC Young Writers’ Award 2017 announced live on Alice Levine’s show on BBC Radio 1 today (Saturday 30th September).

The five stories, ranging from magical realism to the mundane everyday, and written by young writers from 14-18 years old, were each able to create whole worlds in just a few words. Whether it be the gritty subject of domestic and emotional abuse, a child forced to choose between divorcing parents, a struggle to survive in an unforgiving world or a story of retribution, the young finalists showed a sophistication in language and structure beyond their years with their influences ranging from Margaret Atwood to J.K. Rowling, Laurie Lee and Hemingway.

The stories, all under 1000 words, were praised by the judges for the raw beauty of the writing and the assuredness of the storytelling. Open to 14 to 18 year olds, the Award attracted more than 500 entries.

The shortlisted stories and writers are:

  • ‘Wolf’ by Matt Coleclough, 17, from Bristol. The most experimental in structure, Wolf was inspired by a school writing competition where the image of a wolf was set as the jumping-off point. This lyrical, beautifully realised story draws parallels between the wolf’s struggle for survival and the desperation of a local thief.
  • ‘Decisions’ by Miranda Crawford, 14, from Datchet. The tensions of a marriage breaking down and a child caught between two warring parents are captured through the metaphor of ‘tea’ and ‘coffee’ in this strong, visual story from the youngest of this year’s shortlist.
  • ‘Something Wicked, Something Wild’ by Victoria Knight, 18, from Solihull. Inspired by Margaret Atwood’s dedication to an ancestor persecuted for witchcraft in The Handmaid’s Tale, this evocative and haunting tale tells a story of revenge and retribution realised after centuries of torment.
  • ‘The Roses’ by Elizabeth Ryder, 17, from Oxfordshire. The story of a relationship in decline, this inventive and imaginative story of emotional abuse was inspired by the idea of sacrifice and new life in the midst of darkness.
  • ‘Sunflowers’ by Abiah Wyatt, 17, from Cornwall. A poignant and dream-like story of domestic abuse told with raw and brutal beauty, the sunflower field setting was inspired by a family holiday in France.

Alice Levine, BBC Radio 1 DJ and Chair of Judges, BBC YWA 2017 says:This is my third time having the honour of being a judge and the chair for the YWAs. Every year, when we get to the point of discussing the shortlist, it seems to get harder and harder as the quality is just so high. This year we have five wonderful stories that truly reflect the breadth of talent and imagination in young writers in the country today. It’s a very exciting time.”

Holly Bourne, novelist and BBC YWA 2017 judge says: Every entry was so unique and it was tough whittling them down to just five. This shortlist showcases the huge scope of imagination and just the sheer writing talent in this upcoming generation. I always say that you should never underestimate young people, and this shortlist is proof of that. We’ve really found some writers of tomorrow, if not today.”

Nikesh Shukla, writer, editor and BBC YWA 2017 judge says: It’s been a great year for this award. The shortlist is an impressive collection of future stars, each one with a distinctive voice and a bright future ahead of them.” (more…)

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Quick Reads 2018 titles announced

Six enticing Quick Reads titles from well-loved authors have been announced by The Reading Agency for publication on 1 February 2018. The selection of titles written by bestselling writers Fern Britton, Dorothy Koomson, Mark Billingham, Kit de Waal, Tammy Cohen and Vaseem Khan span the globe from Mumbai to Ghana, from Cornwall to inner cities and explore a wide range of themes including friendship, secrets and lies, marriage and the horror that losing your phone can bring.

Quick Reads was founded by Baroness Gail Rebuck DBE in 2006 to provide shorter, easier to read, accessible fiction for less confident adult readers. Now in its 12th year, the programme has distributed over 4.8 million books since it was launched and introduced hundreds of thousands of new readers each year to the joys and benefits of reading.

One in six adults in the UK struggles with reading,[1] whilst one in three does not read for pleasure;[2] Quick Reads are designed to break down the barriers that prevent people from picking up a book. 95% of literacy practitioners report that using Quick Reads has been effective at raising learners’ confidence in reading, whilst 91% say that the books have been effective at improving readers’ literacy skills.[3]

The Quick Reads titles for 2018 are:

  • Cut Off by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown): A punchy, taut urban thriller about that moment we all fear: losing our phone! For Louise, losing hers in a local café takes a sinister turn. Billingham has sold five million copies of his novels and has twice won the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Award for Crime Novel of the Year.
  • The Great Cornish Getaway by Fern Britton (HarperCollins): As the sun sits high in the sky over Cornwall, and the sea breeze brings a welcome relief to the residents of the seaside village of Trevay, a stranger arrives in need of a safe haven. The former presenter of This Morning, Britton is now a Sunday Times bestselling author and this story is full of her usual warmth and wit.
  • Clean Break by Tammy Cohen (Transworld): A dark and twisty portrait of a marriage coming to its bitter end, from the mistress of domestic noir. Can Kate rid herself of her jealous husband before it’s too late? Cohen’s acclaimed novels include The Mistress’s Revenge, The War of the Wives and Someone Else’s Wedding.
  • Inspector Chopra and the Million-Dollar Motor Car by Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton): An enchanting Baby Ganesh Agency novella from the bestselling Khan set in the bustling back-streets of Mumbai. Inspector Chopra and his elephant sidekick have two days to solve the mystery of a missing – and very costly – car for its gangster owner, or there’ll be a heavy price to pay.
  • The Beach Wedding by Dorothy Koomson (Arrow): A gripping short read featuring a wedding, family drama, and old secrets. Tessa is thrilled when her daughter arrives in Ghana to get married but memories of the last time she was there haunt her; can she lay the ghosts of the past to rest or will they come back to haunt her daughter’s future? Koomson is the bestselling author of 12 novels including The Ice-Cream Girls, My Best Friends’ Girl and most recently The Friend.
  • Six Foot Six by Kit de Waal (Viking): A charming novella from Costa First Novel Award shortlisted author de Waal about finding friendship in the most unlikely of places. Everything changes for Timothy, a 21 year old with learning difficulties, when local builder Charlie calls on him for help. De Waal worked in criminal and family law and was a magistrate for many years before her international bestseller, My Name is Leon was published.