HarperFiction reveals winners of contest for undiscovered crime writers

HarperFiction reveals winners of contest for undiscovered crime writers

HarperFiction has revealed the three winners of its Killing It Competition for Undiscovered Writers, launched in January this year.

The competition is designed to find unpublished writers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and this year was judged by editorial director Phoebe Morgan, commissioning editor Kathryn Cheshire, assistant editor Sophie Churcher and guest judge Ayo Onatade.

Each winner will receive a comprehensive editorial report from a HarperFiction editor covering pace, characterisation, pitch and more, as well as three mentoring sessions.

Onatade said there was a large number of submissions which were "varied, amazing and certainly gave us food for thought".

"They were all a great joy and fascinating to read. Deciding the winning three was a tough choice and I am delighted to have been part of the decision-making. It is clear from the submissions that the genre is in good hands and will continue to grow and evolve. Congratulations to you all!"

The winners include IT consultant Rama Varma, for "The Banana Leaf Murder" which tells the tale of Mami, a retired maths teacher, who is invited to the grand birthday celebration of her family friend, aristocrat Sredharan Nair in Kerala. Before the party, he is found dead in his room and his nurse has disappeared with a large sum of money. 

Stacey Thomas' "The Revels" was also announced as a winner. It is a tale of an aspiring playwright who is apprenticed to a former witch hunter in 17th-century England. Thomas is a full-time civil servant and staff reviewer at Bad Form Review. In February, she won the Clare Mackintosh Scholarship for Black Writers for "The Revels" and was awarded a sponsored place on the Curtis Brown six-month Writing Your Novel course. She is currently being mentored by Clare Mackintosh.

The third winner is Shabnam Grewal's "Secrets and Shame", about a radio reporter struggling for direction until a chance encounter leads her to question the truth about her uncle Raj’s murder 40 years earlier. Grewal is an award-winning radio and TV producer at the BBC.