University of East Anglia creative writing student Femi Kayode has won the £3,000 Little, Brown Award for crime fiction for the manuscript for his “shocking and emotional story”, Lightseekers.
It’s the second year the publisher has run the award in partnership with the UEA Creative Writing crime fiction MA.
Sphere editorial director Ed Wood, one of the prize judges, said: “My fellow judges and I were all impressed with the standard of the submissions, which covered a huge range of subjects and showed the amazing variety of crime fiction as a genre. Femi’s novel was the stand-out: it took us to new places, introduced us to original characters and was told using high-class prose that meant it just demanded to be read. Many congratulations to him, and to the other students.”
Kayode said: “I feel honoured to win the Little, Brown UEA Crime Fiction for 2019. The level of talent in my cohort was immense, so to be shortlisted was already a big win to my mind. Lightseekers is a kind of love letter to my home country, Nigeria, and with the support of the programme, my classmates and tutors, I was able to write the type of crime fiction that reflects the complexity of the place, its people and the sociopolitical terrain. I wanted to write the kind of book I would like to read about Nigeria and to win an award for it is both rewarding and affirming.”
Charlie King, Little, Brown Book Group managing director, added: “The UEA MA in Crime Fiction has produced some extraordinary new talent, including Merle Nygate, who won the award with new novel, A Righteous Spy, last year. We are so proud to have been associated with it another year running and excited to see what’s next for Femi Kayode.”
UEA's Masters in Crime Fiction runs alongside its Creative Writing MAs in Prose Fiction, Poetry, Scriptwriting, and Biography and Creative Non-Fiction.