Nine authors have been shortlisted for this year's Luke Bitmead Bursary, the prize for unpublished authors set up in memory of Legend Press’ first novelist who died aged 35 [pictured].
The shortlist includes Bren Gosling’s The Street Sweeper, Deidre Macfarlane’s Flight Path, Hugo Gibson’s Storm Still and Jennifer Lewin’s When Petals Fall.
This Beautiful World by Joanne Phillips, The Wacky Man by Lyn Farrell, Fragrance of Night by Mirandi Riwoe and Temporary Spaces by Sue Reynold and Vigil by Louise Sharland have also been shortlisted for the prize.
The Luke Bitmead Bursary was founded by Bitmead's family in association with Legend Press, shortly after Bitmead’s death in 2006. His book White Summer was the first novel to be published by Legend Press in 2006.
The winner will be selected by a judging panel which includes authors Katie Fforde and Sam Mills, Guardian journalist Marta Bausells, Bitmead’s family and Legend Press.
Tom Chalmers, managing director of Legend Press, said: “What started as a wonderful idea in Luke’s memory and which celebrated his passion for supporting aspiring writers has developed into a fantastic prize which has given that all important first break to a large number of talented writers.
“The quality of entries this year was as high as ever and it was a very difficult task to limit the shortlist to nine unpublished novels. We are very excited about announcing the winner at the awards evening and working with another fantastic new writer.”
Previous winners include Andrew Blackman, Ruth Dugdall, Sophie Duffy and Tara Guha.
The winner will be announced at an award evening on 20th November 2015. The winning author will receive £2,500 and a publishing contract with Legend Press for 2016.