Paul Warnes has won the inaugural Audible New Writing Grant for his original manuscript The Society Of Unexampled Brilliance.
Warnes' manuscript was unanimously selected from nearly 100 submissions by the judging panel, which included two-time Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel Of The Year winner Mark Billingham; CWA Dagger In The Library winner Sharon Bolton; The Girl On The Train and The Widow narrator Clare Corbett; the Daily Telegraph’s crime critic Jake Kerridge; and Audible’s director of content Laurence Howell.
Warnes will receive £10,000 for an exclusive Worldwide English language audio publication deal.
The novel tells the intertwining stories of four members of a fractured family. Sue Jansen is struggling to regain her identity now her children have left home when she finds herself sucked into an American self-improvement organisation called The Society Of Unexampled Brilliance.
Her husband, Johann, is tortured by his desire for a younger colleague whilst their daughter Rebecca, a teacher moonlighting as a honey trap girl for a private investigator, feels suffocated by her girlfriend but doesn’t see the hidden dangers of her boss’ attentions. Their son, Jack, a university dropout, is struggling to write his first novel whilst sliding into a solitary, drug-fuelled existence.
These four, searching for happiness, meaning and fulfilment in their own ways, are suddenly thrust together by a violent attack on a young girl.
Laurence Howell, director of content at Audible, said: “Audio is going from strength to strength, and we’re especially excited to be commissioning and supporting new writing. The format offers so many opportunities for daring, innovative storytelling and this prize, judged on writing for audio first-and-foremost, is a celebration of the exciting possibility to connect with story lovers in new ways. Myself and the other judges loved The Society Of Unexampled Brilliance and I can’t wait to hear it brought to life in audio.”