A former English teacher has won a £10,000 publishing contract with Trapeze as first prize in the ‘Write your own Love Story’ competition the publisher ran with dating website eharmony to celebrate the latter’s 10th anniversary.
Suzanne Ewart’s novel is about a young woman with Huntington’s disease who has forbidden herself from falling in love. The idea for the novel came when Ewart’s father-in-law was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease; the uncertainty that came with the disease, and the possibility that it could have passed genetically to her partner and her son, was something that stuck with her. Ewart said: “I knew I wanted to write a novel in which a character’s knowledge of their future with a fatal neurological disease influences the decisions they make for their life, especially when it comes to forming relationships.”
Trapeze editor Katie Brown said: “Suzanne delivered a truly great love story; a novel full of heart, chemistry, wit and warmth. It is the perfect fit for Trapeze, wholly encapsulating our ethos of publishing stories that start conversations. I love the fresh and emotive premise, the beautifully formed characters and the way in which Suzanne subverted my expectations, while also delivering the happy ending I wanted! I am absolutely delighted – and proud – to be publishing this novel.”
Susan Armstrong, literary agent at C+W, says: “I was incredibly impressed by Suzanne’s writing and the way in which she manages to weave warmth and humour into a thought-provoking and poignant premise. Alongside this, she has crafted two instantly engaging characters whose journey I want to be a part of. For me, Suzanne was the stand out winner.”
Aspiring writers, who had to be un-agented and unpublished, were asked to submit the first 5,000 words of a love story and a synopsis. The competition received more than 150 entries, with seven shortlisted entrants being invited to a creative writing and editing workshop.
The runner up was Lucy Reid for her novel, Alex, Me and the Kismet Tree. She wins a Curtis Brown Creative Online Novel-Writing course, worth £200.
Trapeze plans to publish Ewart’s novel, which is as yet untitled, in winter 2020/21.