Martin Cathcart Froden’s unpublished debut novel Devil Take the Hindmost has been announced as the winner of the Dundee International Book Prize 2015.
Cathcart Froden was awarded the £10,000 prize and a publishing deal with Freight Books at the Dundee Literary Festival today (21st October). He said: “I am absolutely over the moon! Winning the Dundee International Book Prize is a dream come true. It’s one of those life-changing surprises. I am so, so happy.”
The winning novel, Devil Take the Hindmost, is set in London in the 1920s and centres on a "cyclist so fast criminals want him: to win races, to stage losses and to run important messages.” It revolves around velodrome racing and the “small, impossible choices that a life is built from – or destroyed by.”
The prize was judge by writer and television presenter Danny Wallace, comedian Fred MacAulay, head of literature at Creative Scotland Jenny Niven, literary agent Ed Wilson and crime writer Denise Mina.
Mina said: “It was an honour to sit on the panel for this prize. These unpublished manuscripts were variously moving, well plotted and brilliantly observed. This prize gives you a sense of all the fantastic, undiscovered work out there.”
Programme manager for Literary Dundee, Peggy Hughes, said: “Martin Cathcart Froden is a worthy winner of the 2015 Dundee International Book Prize. This has been a stellar year for the prize, with tough competition from a very fine shortlist, but Martin’s debut was ahead of the pack.”
Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council's city development committee and spokesperson for the `Dundee, One City, Many Discoveries’ campaign, said: “The Dundee Book Prize continues to go from strength to strength as demonstrated by the increasing quantity and quality of entries we see rolling in. The international reach of this competition is something we are all incredibly proud of.
“The kudos for winning the prize also increases and this year's winner should be as proud of the accolade as we are of the prize itself.”
Adrian Searle, publisher at Freight Books, said: “Martin Cathcart Froden has created a unique, compelling noir that combines a literary sensibility with that all-important quality, it’s a real page turner. He brilliantly evokes the seedier side of interwar London. We’re delighted that the Dundee International Book Prize continues to uncover writing of this quality.”
Also shortlisted were The Chicken Soup Murder by Maria Donovan and Rainbirds by Clarissa Nathania Goenawan.
The Dundee International Book Prize is a collaboration between the University of Dundee’s Literary Dundee initative, Freight Books and Dundee City Council’s ‘One City, Many Discoveries’ campaign, with the support of Apex Hotels.