The shortlist for the Richard & Judy ‘Search for a Bestseller’ competition has been revealed, comprising two crime novels, two psychological thrillers, “quirky” tales and women’s fiction, all authored by women.
The competition run in partnership with Bonnier Zaffre, and supported by WH Smith, asked first-time unpublished writers to submit 10,000 words plus a synopsis of their novel to a selection panel including television presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, agents at Furniss Lawton and staff from across Bonnier Publishing.
The eight shortlisted authors now have until 12th December to send their completed novels in to the panel, competing to win a £50,000 world rights publishing deal from Bonnier Zaffre and advice from literary agency Furniss Lawton.
The eight authors are: Caz Frear for A Lesser Sin, a crime novel about a detective who suspects her father may be involved with a murder she is investigating; Laura Stewart for Acting Mysterious, a romantic mystery about a woman who inherits a house in Scotland and uncovers an old legend; Gail Egan for Deep Water, a psychological thriller about a woman whose ex-husband is murdered and becomes a suspect along with his new wife; Laura Foakes for Eighteen Exhibits, a “quirky" tale about a man who tries to unearth the truth about his early life and parentage by following a series of letters and objects found at the family manor house; Heather Ranby for First Person Singular, a crime novel about the investigation of a bomb detonated at a Knightsbridge restaurant; Asia Mackay for Hard Play, women’s fiction about a female assassin returning to work after maternity leave; Alison Percival for Rip Her to Shreds, a psychological thriller about a woman who becomes obsessed with her ex-husband’s new lover; and Honoria Beirne for September, a “reading group novel” set in rural Ireland during the early years of the new free state.
The winning novel will be published by Bonnier Zaffre in summer 2017.
Richard and Judy said: "We’re hugely excited to now have our eight-strong shortlist – and what a shortlist it is! We can’t wait to read the finished debut novels, select our ‘search for a bestseller’ competition winner and introduce readers to a fantastic new writer.”
Kate Parkin, executive director for adult fiction at Bonnier Zaffre, said: "We’ve had an overwhelming number of entries and are truly delighted by the talent we’ve found. It’s been an exciting process of discovery and we’re looking forward to reading our shortlisted authors’ finished books."