Unpublished author Dan Mooney has won the final Luke Bitmead Writer’s Bursary.
Mooney received a cheque for £2,500 as well as a publishing contract with Legend Press for his debut novel Me Myself and Them.
The novel will be published in June 2017. Three additional prizes were awarded on the night – second place was awarded to Beyond Ironopolis by Glen James Brown, third place was given to Lochwall by Patricia Holland and Monsoons and Marigolds by Kriss Nichol was highly-commended.
The Luke Bitmead Bursary was set up by Luke Bitmead’s family in association with Legend Press in 2006, shortly after Bitmead’s tragic death at the age of 34 and the publication of his novel, White Summer.
This year will be the last year the bursary will be presented as the Luke Bitmead Memorial Fund moves to focus all of its attention and resources on "the vital cause of raising mental health awareness".
The winners were chosen from a shortlist of 10 authors by a judging panel of authors Katie Fforde and Sam Mills, Luke Bitmead’s mother Elaine Hanson, and Legend Press' mangaging editor Tom Chalmers, commissioning editor Lauren Parsons and head of publicity and marketing Lucy Chamberlain.
Parsons said: "We are thrilled to announce Dan Mooney as the winner of this year’s Bursary. Me, Myself and Them is a very accomplished novel, which adopts a unique and sensitive approach to the subject of mental health in the wake of a traumatic event. We’re very excited to be working with Dan next year."
Chalmers said: "Luke was the first novelist I signed up when I started Legend Press and his talent and support of aspiring writers remains ingrained into the foundation of the company. The Bursary has also grown to be a vital part of Legend Press’s history and it has been an honour to work closely with Luke’s family and all the judges over the years on this fantastic prize.
"Luke was a brilliant writer and after finding us so many special talents, it is fitting that the Bursary ends in a full circle by providing a deserved platform for Dan Mooney and the fantastic Me, Myself and Them."
The Luke Bitmead Bursary was founded by Bitmead's family in association with Legend Press, shortly after Bitmead took his own life in 2006. His book White Summer was the first novel to be published by Legend Press in 2006.