THE IRISH WRITERS’ CENTRE has announced its shortlist of 12 winners for this year’s Novel Fair, which will take place on February 22nd at the Irish Writers’ Centre. Now in its third year, the Novel Fair aims to introduce up-and-coming writers to top publishers and literary agents, giving novelists the opportunity to bypass the slush pile, pitch their ideas and place their synopsis and sample chapters directly into the hands of publishers and agents.
Kept under wraps during the selection process, the judging panel can now revealed as Rachel Pierce, owner/editor owner of Verba Editing House; Anthony Glavin, editor and writer; and Sarah Davis-Goff, publisher and founder of Tramp Press. Since the October 16th deadline, the judges have read through every page of the 306 synopses and opening chapters received and have had the unenviable task of whittling it down to a winning twelve.
Judge Anthony Glavin described their final selection as “A rich cornucopia of hugely promising premises, plots, characters, insights and outcomes for a dozen novels across all genres, all underpinned by original, engaging, well-executed writing. Not to be missed!”
This year’s winners are Evan Cody, Simon Fay, Alan Gorevan, Geraldine Hogan, Rachael Kelly, Caitriona Lally, Bláthnaid Nolan, David O’Brien, Nathan O’Donnell, Lisa Parker, Grey Phelan and Áine Tierney. The work chosen includes literary fiction, children’s fiction, historical fiction, SciFi, thriller and crime. One of the winners will travel home to Kilkenny all the way from New Zealand to take part. For another, it’s her first win after making the long list in two previous years, with a different novel submitted each time!
The Novel Fair presents a unique opportunity to gain face time with some of the most influential people in Irish publishing, and could truly kick-start a literary career for this year’s winners. Attendees of last year’s Fair included representatives from Penguin Ireland, Hachette Ireland, Transworld Ireland, Picador, New Island, O’Brien Press, Lilliput Press, Liberties Press, Curtis Brown, The Book Bureau, Marianne Gunne O’Connor Literary Agency, Jonathan Williams Literary Agency and Lisa Richards Agency.
Launched in 2011, the Novel Fair has seen an ever-growing number of novels originally submitted to the competition hit the shelves of retailers. Last year, alone, saw previous Novel Fair winners enter in publication: Niamh Boyce (The Herbalist), Janet E. Cameron (Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World), Ian Flitcroft (The Reluctant Cannibals), Kevin Curran (Beatsploitation) and A.W. Timmons (Here In No Place). Daniel Seery’s A Model Partner is due to hit bookshelves in March.
Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair competition winners:
Colm by Evan Cody
Wolf by Simon Fay
Botox For Dancers by David Flitton
Out of Nowhere by Alan Gorevan
Stolen Sister by Geraldine Hogan
The Edge of Heaven by Rachael Kelly
Eggshells by Caitriona Lally
The Shadow of Darcy Anne by Blathnaid Nolan
Letters to Lucy by Nathan O’Donnell
Dawn in Temper by Lisa Parker
North to Midnight by Grey Phelan
The Silver Girl by Aine Tierney
Summer of Stan by Anthony Brophy
Railway Park by Erica Coughlan
Child of the Slums by Aisling Cronin
Rising by Brian Kirk
Essex Road by Guy Le Jeune
Jesus of the Lavatory by Donall Mac Lochlainn
Loyalties by Niall McCann
Happy-Cry with my Brilliant Life by Paul McCarrick
Tider by Sinead O’Hart
Statistical Anomalies in the Probability of Love by Tara Sparling