Graphic designer Vanessa Savage from Glamorgan has won Myriad’s 2016 First Drafts Competition for previously unpublished writers.
Savage accepted the prize, awarded for her work-in-progress, "Reunion", last week at an event at Waterstones Piccadilly, presented by author and judge Lisa Cutts who won Myriad’s First Drafts Competition in 2012.
Now in its seventh year, Myriad’s First Drafts Competition recognises "promising work-in-progress" and is open to writers who have not yet published a collection of stories or novel.
Described as “central” to Myriad’s mission to “uncover and nurture new literary talent", this year's judges along with Cutts were crime writers Elizabeth Haynes, Peter James, Lesley Thomson and Elly Griffiths.
Griffiths described Savage’s work as "a big bold idea about grief and memory made real". She added: "This is confident writing, and heralds an original new voice in the genre."
During the evening were readings from the eight shortlisted writers accompanied by introductions from the judges on what they thought made each piece stand out, and a video presentation by Peter James.
Myriad’s publisher and m.d. Candida Lacey said: "This was a strong and impressive shortlist, with a wide diversity of writing styles, themes and settings. The judges had a difficult choice to find only one winner and thought each deserving of publication. Their endorsements, and the opportunities created by competitions of this kind, will bring these new writers to the attention of literary agents and publishers.”
Myriad has published several authors brought to its attention through the competition including Cutts’s Never Forget and Remember, Remember, Nina de la Mer's 4 a.m. and Layla, Hannah Vincent's Alarm Girl, S.E. Craythorne's How You See Me and Sara Marshall-Ball's Hush.
Other past successes include 2010 winner Kirsty Logan, author of The Gracekeepers (Harvill Secker); 2013 winner Al Brookes, author of The Gift of Looking Closely (Al Brookes), that became the Guardian Self-Published Book of the Month; Juliet West, whose novel-in-progress Before the Fall (Pan Macmillan) was shortlisted in 2013; and Paul McVeigh, shortlisted in 2013, whose novel The Good Son (Salt) won the Guardian Not-the-Booker Prize.