The Daily Mail and Penguin Random House have launched the third year of their nationwide competition to search for a new writing talent.
The winner will receive a £20,000 advance and publishing contract with PRH imprint Century and the services of literary agent Luigi Bonomi.
Entrants are invited to submit the first 3,000 words of their novel, along with a 600-word synopsis. Submissions can be of any adult genre except for saga, science fiction and fantasy. Entrants must not have had a novel published before.
The competition will be judged by a panel of experts: author and TV presenter Fern Britton; Bonomi, managing director of LBA Literary Agents; crime writer Simon Kernick; the Daily Mail's literary editor Sandra Parsons; and Selina Walker, publisher for Century & Arrow.
Walker said she would this year be looking for "authors who can tell stories that pull you into a world that feels more real than the one around you, who can create characters you care about, who can shape a narrative you absolutely can’t put down". She added: "It’s hard to find a writer who can do all three – but when you do, it jumps out and bites you on the nose."
Bonomi added meanwhile: "I want 'Up Lit': well written, feel-good fiction that teaches us about the human condition. And I want to cry (real men do cry!) and smile, and be excited by what I read, and thrilled by it. Is this a big ask? Not really – because I know such a novel is out there, waiting to be discovered, and it could be yours."
The competition's inaugural winner in 2016 was Amy Lloyd from Cardiff, after her novel The Innocent Wife was chosen from 5,000 entries. The book has sold 5,932 copies in hardback so far, according to Nielsen, while translation rights have sold into 18 territories including the US, France, and Israel. Film rights have also been sold to eOne, the producers of "Gone Girl" and "The Girl on the Train". The paperback will be published on 23rd August and her second novel is due out next year.
The second winnner was Lizzy Barber for My Name is Alice, the story of a young woman's quest to uncover the truth of her identity and unlock the mysteries that have defined her life.
The deadline for competition entries is 13th July 2018. For further information go to: www.dailymail.co.uk/firstnovel