Seven authors make Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize shortlist after record 600 entries

Seven authors make Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize shortlist after record 600 entries

Seven authors have been shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize following a record 600 entries. 

The prize celebrates unpublished female writers, aged 21 and over, with all shortlisted entrants granted a half-hour one-to-one consultation, with competition sponsors Peters Fraser & Dunlop, who will give editorial feedback and discuss the marketability of the work submitted. In addition, the 2019 winner will receive a cash prize of £1,500.

Bookseller Louise Beere’s historical fiction The Glove Maker of Spitalfields, YA novel The Cautious Traveller’s Guide to the Wastelands by Sarah Brooks and English teacher Nicola Garrard’s Twenty-Nine Locks, which is dedicated to the memory of her former student Mahad Ali, have made the shortlist.

Contemporary literary novel Perfect Complex by Emma Hughes, Lucetta Johnson’s historical tale 1851 alongside lecturer Carly Reagon’s ghost story I'll Find You and Sarah Marsh’s historical novel The Shape of his Words round off the shortlist. 

Jackie Ashley, political journalist, broadcaster and honorary fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, Viking editorial director Katy Loftus, PFD literary agent Nelle Andrew, editor and ghost-writer Gillian Stern, Emeritus fellow Lindsey Traub and poet, crime writer and honorary fellow, Sophie Hannah make up the judging panel alongside journalist and author Allison Pearson. 

“It has been another brilliant year for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize with hundreds of entries of real quality. The judges found so many talented writers, and so much to admire in their work, that it was really hard to narrow them down. We have ended up with a wonderful shortlist, which includes young adult fiction, romantic comedy, a psychological thriller, three glorious historical stories and a timely and powerful portrayal of a young boy caught up in London’s gangland,” said Pearson. “We are proud that the Lucy Prize has already helped so many amazing, undiscovered writers find agents and publishers.  I am confident that the shortlist of 2019 contains a few literary stars of the future.”

In addition to the main prize, in 2019 the College is running its first Lucy Cavendish Student Fiction Prize. Funded by the Florence Staniforth Award for Excellence in Creative Writing, this was open to students from any discipline studying at Lucy Cavendish and entry was free of charge. The winner of the student prize will be awarded £100 and two other entries with £50 each. The winner will be announced on the same evening of Thursday 23rd May.   

The prize was founded seven years ago by former Lucy Cavendish president, Janet Todd, to champion unpublished women writers and is the only official literary prize of the University of Cambridge. Various winners and shortlisted entrants have gone on to find publishing success, including Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (HarperCollins) author Gail Honeyman.