Unpublished writer wins Historical Novel Society award, heads to LBF

A previously unpublished writer has won the inaugural Historical Novel Society International Award, and a prize of £5,000.

Martin Sutton was promptly signed up by Carole Blake of Blake Friedmann who will introduce his winning novel, Lost Paradise, to editors at the London Book Fair.

The award, running this year for the first time, is open to both published and unpublished writers. Richard Lee of the Historical Novel Society described Sutton as "a genuine bona fide discovery", calling Lost Paradise "a lyrical war story, a yearning, poignant love story, a book with the biggest themes that grips and pulls but can also make you smile."

Lost Paradise tells of William Pascoe, a young gardener on the Heligan estate, who is wrenched away from a blossoming but difficult romance to fight at the front on the Somme.

Lee's enthusiasm was echoed by W H Smith Travel fiction buyer Matthew Bates, who called Lost Paradise a "haunting, generational novel of war, love, secrets and lies...with the scope of, say, a Kate Morton."