The Society of Authors has launched a new prize for debut novelists over the age of 60: The Paul Torday Memorial Prize.
The inaugural award offers the winner £1,000 plus a set of the collected works of British writer Paul Torday, who himself only published his first novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen at the age of 60. Runners-up will receive one specially-selected Paul Torday novel with a commemorative book plate, courtesy of W&N Fiction.
Free to enter, submissions are open from 1st August until 15th November 2018. Conditions state that the novel must be the author’s first published full-length fiction work, although they can have had works published of other lengths or other genres in the past. The author must be aged 60 or over as of the date of the novel's first print publication and date of entry to the competition. There are no restrictions as to nationality.
The prize was founded by Torday's two sons in his honour. Torday, who died aged 67 in December 2013, published his debut Salmon Fishing in the Yemen with W&N just six years prior following a 30-year career in the engineering industry. The novel went on to become an international hit, win 2007's Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize and be made into a film starring Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt, and was followed by a further six books including 2013 novel Light Shining in the Forest (W&N).
Commenting, Piers Torday said: "My brother Nick and I founded this prize in memory of our late father Paul, who found literary success late in life with his debut Salmon Fishing in the Yemen at the age of 60. Our message to the industry and the public with this prize is very simple and twofold: it truly is never too late to follow your dream, and we passionately believe that writing could be a wonderful second career for many more with a life of well-lived experience to call upon."
Further details can be found on the SoA's website. The prize joins eight existing awards administered by the SoA and will first be awarded at the 2019 Authors' Awards. This year the SoA awarded £98,000 to 31 writers of poetry, fiction and non-fiction.