Jules Lampshire has been snapped up by agent Madeleine Milburn after winning the £1,000 Bluepencilagency First Novel Award for the "vivid" opening scene of her prospective debut, My Poor Deluded Girl.
As well as receiving the £1,000 prize pot, as part of her win Lampshire bagged an introduction to Milburn (pictured) who was one of the competition's prize judges and has since confirmed she will be representing Lampshire having been "mesmerised" by her winning entry.
A work of commercial fiction, the plot for My Poor Deluded Girl takes off after a stranger dies falling from a bridge onto the car of lonely middle-aged Janice. Following the incident Janice begins to fantasise a connection between her and the deceased woman and proceeds to pursue her friends and family, trying to replace the dead girl in their affections.
According to Bluepencilagency, it "explores character and motive, the twisted logic that leads to seemingly irrational acts and their unforeseen consequences" and will appeal to fans of novels such as Enduring Love by Ian McEwan and Single White Female by John Lutz. It was written by Lampshire, a psychologist and an artist, while participating in 2017's six month Faber Academy Writing a Novel programme.
“I was completely gripped by Jules’ voice, and her opening scene was so vivid, I can’t stop thinking about it," said Milburn of Lampshire's work. "She presented one of those real moments in fiction where a reader can put themselves right in the protagonist’s shoes: what would happen if they were in an accident like this? How would the trauma of the impact affect them?”
She added: “I was taken in from the beginning. Her unique take on the world is fascinating, and it’s a refreshingly new kind of detective drama."
The runner up of Bluepencilagency's First Novel Award was Mandy Robotham with Breeder. She took home £250 and an editorial manuscript review with Bluepencilagency editor Sara Sarre. In addition to the winner and runner up, the judges also highly commended another shortlisted title, What Home Is by Tali Gumbiner.