Christie J Newport has won the inaugural Joffe Books Prize for Crime Writers of Colour withr the "enormously promising" first instalment in a police procedural series.
The competition aims to champion authors from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, who are particularly underrepresented in crime fiction publishing, and is open to debut, previously published or self-published writers. The prize will now be an annual event, with the next submissions period opening in May 2022.
Ten writers were longlisted, judged by author Dorothy Koomson, literary agent Susan Yearwood, Joffe editorial director Emma Grundy Haigh and press founder Jasper Joffe. The judges were unanimous in their decision. Newport's book, which has the working title Branded, follows "refreshing female lead" Detective Beth Fellows, whose "entity as a gay, mixed-race officer struggling to separate her professional and personal lives is wholly identifiable," the judges said.
"Christie has written an enormously promising, immediately immersive police procedural with a fantastically hooky opening scene followed by twist after twist. This novel has excellent series potential, and we can see readers eagerly devouring the pages," they added.
Newport said of her win: “Receiving the phone call to tell me I had won was unbelievable. It was akin to winning the lottery. Dorothy Koomson is an inspiration, her enjoying my writing is incredible.”
Her first book in the series will be released in autumn 2022, with a second to follow as part of Joffe's two-book contract prize. She is now represented by Hannah Weatherill at Northbank Talent Management.
Grundy Haigh added: “I am absolutely delighted by the response to the prize, and especially to have been joined by Dorothy Koomson and Susan Yearwood. Both were extraordinarily generous in their time and insights, and the judging process benefited hugely from their involvement. Although the competition was fierce, Christie’s entry stood out right from the start. From the explosive opening scene to the arresting finale, this gripping debut promises great things. I am thrilled to now welcome Christie to the Joffe Books family."