Unpublished author Lyn Farrell has been named as the winner of the Luke Bitmead Writer’s Bursary 2015 in an award ceremony in central London on Friday (20th November).
Chosen from a shortlist of 10 authors, Farrell received a cheque for £2,500 as well as a publishing contract with Legend Press for her "orginal, unique and daring" debut novel The Wacky Man, set to be published in May 2016.
Two additional prizes were awarded on the night: Storm Still by Hugo Gibson was awarded second place and Temporary Spaces by Sue Reynolds third place.
The Luke Bitmead Bursary, an annual prize for unpublished novelists, was set up by Luke Bitmead’s family in association with Legend Press in 2006, to help support fresh talent in need of nurturing. It was put in place shortly after Bitmead (pictured) tragically took his own life at the age of 34 and shortly after the publication of his novel, White Summer.
The judging panel included authors Katie Fforde and Sam Mills, Guardian journalist Marta Bausells, Luke Bitmead’s mother Elaine Hanson, and from Legend Press Tom Chalmers, Lottie Chase and Lauren Parsons.
Lauren Parsons, commissioning editor of Legend Press, said: “We’re delighted to announce Lyn Farrell as the winner of this year’s Bursary. The Wacky Man is original, unique and daring – a great addition to the already outstanding list of novels that have been published as a result of the Bursary. We’re very excited to be working with Lyn next year.”
Previous winners of the award are: Andrew Blackman in 2008 for On the Holloway Road, Ruth Dugdall in 2009 for The Woman Before Me, Sophie Duffy in 2010 for The Generation Game, J.R. Crook in 2011 for Sleeping Patterns, Joanne Graham in 2012 for Lacey’s House, Jo Gatford in 2013 for White Lies and Tara Guha in 2014 for Untouchable Things.
Hanson, Luke’s mother, added: "In this our 8th year presenting the Luke Bitmead Writer’s Bursary there is a strong feeling of solidarity. We now have a track record that demonstrates Luke’s idea works brilliantly in discovering fresh talent and then giving this talent more opportunity to develop whilst receiving guidance not only from the Legend Press team but also fellow finalists. Not only have past winners gone on to have more books published but we’ve had comments from finalists who have highlighted to impact it’s had on their lives. Thrillingly the Luke Bitmead writing family grows.”