Unpublished author Tara Guha has won the 2014 Luke Bitmead Writer's Bursary, winning £2,500 and a publishing contract with Legend Press.
Guha won the bursary for her debut novel Absent, which will now be published in November 2015.
The bursary is awarded each year by the Luke Bitmead Memorial Fund in association with Legend Press. It was established in 2006, shortly after Bitmead's death at the age of 34. His novel, White Summer, was the first to be published by Legend Press, and the bursary is now given out to encourage and support up and coming writers who have yet to be published.
Guha was selected from a shortlist of 10 authors by a judging panel made up of authors Sam Mills and Ruth Dugdall, Luke's mother Elaine Hanson, Legend Press founder Tom Chalmers, commissioning editor Lauren Parsons and head of publicity and marketing Lucy Chamberlain.
Parsons said: "Absent is captivating, with a plot unlike anything we've ever read before, combining elements of suspense and intrigue with a deliciously dark twist. We are very much look forward to working with Tara in the run up to publication next year."
Hanson added: "The Luke Bitmead Memorial Fund has been set up for two reasons, firstly to give support to unpublished fledgling writers, particularly those who have striven to work through the disempowering feelings of anxiety and depression. Secondly to eradicate the stigma that prevents mental health problems being discussed openly enabling support and understanding. With the rock solid support of Legend Press it feels as if we are helping to encourage creativity and inspire openness and compassion which must help generate a healthier environment for us all."