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Friday, June 28, 2013

The West Country now has its very own Novel Prize

Anyone who ever dared to think the UK's West Country (Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Avon) is a cultural desert will now have to think again because as of now we have the Exeter Novel Prize.

This was launched last night at Exeter Central Library in front of a gratifyingly large audience who had braved the wind and rain of a horrible evening to come and find out what it's all about. We rewarded them with cakes! Here's a shot of the organisers and a member of the audience, the novelist Laura James whose debut novel will be published soon. Left to right - Margaret James, Cathie Hartigan, Laura James and Sophie Duffy.

The organisers - Sophie Duffy, Cathie Hartigan and I - explained that this brand new prize is open to yet-to-be-published and published (but currently unagented and uncontracted) writers.  You have to be over 18, to write in English, and your work must be for adults or young adults - readers of 12 or over.  This year, we are not considering stories for children.

The final judge will be Broo Doherty from the London literary agency Wade and Doherty.  The first prize is £500, generously sponsored by Exeter Writers, and five runners-up will each receive £50. The prizes will be paid via Paypal, so currency conversions won't be a problem. There'll be no sterling cheques to cash abroad at vast expense! Entry is open to writers anywhere in the world.

The full terms and conditions are on this link: www.creativewritingmatters.co.uk. This is what our local MP, the Right Honourable Ben Bradshaw, former Labour Secretary of State for Media, Culture and Sport, has to say: The Exeter Novel Prize is a great addition to the cultural life of our city and I look forward to it becoming a regular fixture on the arts calendar. Good luck to all entrants and I look forward to hearing about the shortlist and the winning novel.


  1. Hello, Margaret. Thank you for the mention :-)
    I think this is a 'must enter' competition and can see it going from strength to strength each year. Excellent initiative and very good luck with it and to all who enter.
    Laura xx

  2. Thank you, Laura - it was lovely to see you!

  3. I've posted on the other two blogs so wouldn't want to leave you out! I think this is a splendid idea and great for Exeter and the West Country. I live abroad at the moment but spent over 15 years in North Devon, if ever I come back to the UK the West Country would be my first choice to live.

    I hope you get plenty of entries (I'm sure you will) I'm doing my best to get something down! Good luck.


  4. Thank you so much, Ninette. We'll look forward to reading your entry and indeed everyone else's, too. We're planning a fantastic prize-giving ceremony!