It was an exciting day for all of us. Last year, the Exeter Novel Prize attracted over 300 entries from all over the world, so to end up in the final six is a brilliant achievement, and we didn't envy London literary agent Broo Doherty, whose task was to choose a winner from those final six entries.
Broo was impressed by all the entries and spoke about the strengths displayed in each one. But there could be only one winner, and this turned out to be Clare Harvey, whose WW2 saga about three women who join the ATS to do their bit for king and country is a great read. The novel, originally entitled Cage the Minute but now retitled The Gunner Girl, won the £500 first prize and a trophy. It will be published by Simon and Schuster in October 2015.
Here's a photograph of Broo, Clare and the 2013 winner Su Bristow, whose now-completed novel Sealskin will be taken to the London Book Fair next month.
Left to right - Su, Clare and Broo
The other five finalists are Bert Tyler-Moore, Helena Fairfax, Derryl Flynn, April Hardy and Beverly Stark, left to right in the photograph below, who each collected a runner-up prize of £50 and an engraved glass paperweight.
You will soon be able to read an in-depth report on the day, together with Broo's assessments of all six novels, on the CreativeWritingMatters website at http://www.creativewritingmatters.co.uk/
Congratulations to all the six shortlisted authors. You are all stars and we wish you every success in your writing. We're sure we'll be hearing a lot about you in the future!
The 2015 competition will soon be open. Details will be on the CreativeWritingMatters website, together with lots of information about all the other things we do, so it's worth checking regularly.