Sevastian Volkov has won this year’s Impress Prize for New Writers, for his YA novel Orris and the Shadow Maiden.
The winning entry was among five shortlisted entries for the prize and this year. Judging took place remotely. The panel consisted of Rosalind Russell, journalist and author, Tracey Warr, art historian and author, and Richard Willis, founder of his own group of publishing companies.
Volkov will receive a publishing contract with one of Untold Publishing’s imprints, namely Impress Books or Aelurus Publishing, a £500 prize, and a place at writing retreat centre A Chapter Away.
In a joint statement, the panel said they were “immediately drawn into the magical world Sevastian Volkov has created in Orris and the Shadow Maiden. Young readers will delight in the intricate characters and uniqueness of the story he tells. Volkov’s writing is beautifully crafted and we look forward to seeing his work in print.”
Volkov earned a degree in general studies from Naugatuck Valley Community College and went on to study pathobiology and anthropology at the University of Connecticut. During his academic career, his poetry placed in the CCHA’s Literary Magazine Contest, and he has won several awards from Connecticut’s Fresh Ink journal for his poetry and short prose. He currently works as a freelance developmental editor and divides his time between Alaska and New England.
Commenting on his win, he said: “I originally joined the competition on a whim thinking that maybe, in my most distant dreams, if they had a longlist and I got on the longlist it would look nice on query letters. I was floored when I made the shortlist. Then I found out I won. It eventually sank in that no one had made a terrible mistake and the judges just liked my book, so my ego swelled to the size of a modest bungalow. I have been walking around feeling very pleased with myself as of late. I had decided to start writing a novel on a whim too, so this seems fitting. The moral of the story is to do things on a whim as often as possible. I look forward to working with Impress. This is exciting!”
The prize has been running annually since 2007 and seeks to uncover and publish original, new writing talent. Previous winners of the prize include Annabel Abbs, who has received international acclaim for her novel The Joyce Girl and Sophie Haydock, whose 2018 entry The Flames will be published by Doubleday.