The 10 chapters have been read and re-read by Jenny Savill and she has made her decision! Congratulations to …
WINNER: Caroline Waterer for MY SUMMER AS BRITANNIA
There was a lightness of touch to this, and a deftness when it came to imparting information that I really admired. It’s so hard to give a sense of period without overdoing it, and the author has managed this well. Also a wry and intelligent humour coming through. I’m intrigued to read the whole manuscript.
RUNNER UP: Rachael Dunlop for START WEARING PURPLE FOR ME NOW
The tension builds well and the author has made a very good job of rendering a potentially unlikeable character, likeable. There’s a lovely rhythm to the prose, which serves to enhance the main character’s thought process. A joy to read.
RUNNER UP: John Taylor for A POLICY ON KISSING
A potential modern-day ROMEO AND JULIET. The writing makes it easy to engage with the characters and their predicament, and while great intensity of feeling is conveyed, there are laugh out loud moments too. Loving the distinct voices and the wry observations on bureaucracy and box-ticking.
REFUGE by Ruth Connolly
This had a great sense of place and setting, and a strong voice. On occasion, where dialogue is reported, I think the author could show it. I liked the intriguing twist at the end.
THE CHANTEUSE FROM CAPE TOWN by John Constable
Such a smooth, thriller-like tone. Precise, clean lines both in the description and the execution – almost architectural. This knows exactly what it is and who it is for. An intriguingly dry main character. Feels accomplished.
THE DISTANCE BETWEEN YOU AND ME by Britta Jensen
Very nice world building here – we enter a familiar yet definitely “other” world. The writing is well-pitched for a YA audience. I love how the writer makes the reader work to understand what’s going on – and rewards them for the effort. Also a clever premise.
THE FLESH by Bev Morris
Such a refreshing and unusual premise. I love how the writer has taken some of today’s concerns and stretched them to their logical conclusion, then set them in a recognisable world of tomorrow. It’s a really clever – and disturbing – idea, well told.
THE LENS YOU LOOK THROUGH by Sue Cooper
An action-packed beginning, full of intrigue. The author tells us a great deal over relatively small page space. I would suggest slowing down, showing us a bit more, and working also on your main character – helping the reader get to know her more.
THE ZAK SCARAMOUCHE FAN CLUB by Christina Pishiris
This has a contemporary feel, with snappy dialogue and lots of laughs. I sense a big, funny, romantic comedy. There is a great insider-authenticity to it. I would cut the initial explanation of what the fan club is and put it in later – entice the reader in with the promise of an explanation.
THE WAY BACK by Catherine Morris
The exploration of grief feels so well done here. Such intense writing, so full of emotion but it feels to me somehow constrained by the present tense – like it needs releasing to fully work. Maybe as an exercise try the past tense and see what happens? And I would cut the first para – it only tells us what the author then shows us so beautifully in the second. Trust your abilities.
Well done to everyone on the shortlist and especially to Caroline, Rachael and John!