Loneliness novel wins Pageturner Prize for unpublished writing

Loneliness novel wins Pageturner Prize for unpublished writing

Leaf Arbuthnot, author of An Unmaimed Man, has won Tibor Jones' 2017 Pageturner Prize for unpublished novels.

An Unmaimed Man is about "loneliness and the necessity, joys and difficulties of forming meaningful human connections". Set over 12 hours in London, the novel follows the footsteps of Julian Whitby, an unpredictable 60-year-old who is unwilling to confront the memory of his son's suicide. 

Arbuthnot's win means she will now be represented by Tibor Jones agent Laura Macdougall.

Arbuthnot said: "I'm delighted that my novel An Unmaimed Man has won the Pageturner Prize and cannot wait to work with Tibor Jones. It's a real honour to be recognised by such an illustrious panel of judges and I'm sure the competition from other entries was fierce."

Pageturner judge, author and Oneworld editor, Alex Christofi, added: "Whitby is a man on a mission – and who cares what the mission is, when getting there is so funny? In the course of a day-trip from Woking to London, he manages to put his shoeless foot in it across the city, haggling with the homeless and nicking his literary agent’s lunch like a deeply eccentric Harold Fry. An Unmaimed Man is a real pleasure to read, and in Leaf Arbuthnot the Pageturner Prize has unearthed an exciting new voice."

Arbuthnot is a feature writer for the Sunday Times. A graduate of Cambridge, where she studied French and Italian, the École normale supérieure in Paris, and Yale University, Leaf also reviews poetry for the Times Literary Supplement.

Charlotte Colwill, Pageturner judge and head of children’s at Foyles, said: "There was such a wide variety of brilliant writing and storytelling on the shortlist, and separating out a winner was a difficult undertaking. However, An Unmaimed Man won us over with its utterly unique voice, its humour and its pathos. I'm sure it will find a wide readership and many fans."

The Tibor Jones agency said it was "delighted" with the quality and quantity of entrants for the fourth edition of the Pageturner Prize and offered "a huge congratulations" to Arbuthnot, along with the five other shortlisted authors. Arbuthnot was selected from a six-strong shortlist including Amy J. Kirkwood (Blazers), Evan Mann (The Boy, The Blackshirt, and the Dead Body in The Dining Room), Jane O’Connor (Needlemouse), Dan Powell (The Everlasting Knock), and Paul Warnes (The Society of Unexampled Brilliance). O’Connor was selected as the runner-up, whilst Kirkwood was given a special commendation.