Duo to fight it out for Dundee International Book Prize 2014

The two finalists for the 2014 Dundee International Book Prize have been announced, with one of them set to earn a publishing deal and £10,000 cash prize.

This year's finalists are Rachel Fenton, a writer and artist living in Auckland, New Zealand, and English writer and performer Amy Mason.

Amy’s Ida and Rachel’s Some Things the English saw off stiff competition from 400 other entrants to reach this stage, and will now face further scrutiny from this year’s all-star judging panel comprising literary megastar Neil Gaiman, broadcaster Kirsty Lang, agent Felicity Blunt, publisher Scott Pack and former Man Booker Prize judge Stuart Kelly. 

The judges will read each and debate their merits before the winner is announced at the Dundee Literary Festival in October. A publishing deal with Cargo Publishing and £10,000 – the largest cash prize for unpublished work in the UK – is up for grabs.

An anthology of extracts from all 12 authors who made the shortlist stage of the competition is available as a free eBook from Amazon or in hard copy format from Literary Dundee. The top title will be named as the tenth winner of the Book Prize, organised by the Literary Dundee initiative, and Dundee City Council's 'One City, Many Discoveries' campaign.

Anna Day, of Literary Dundee, said, “We're really excited by the two prize finalists in this fantastic year for the Dundee International Book Prize. The entries continue to impress us with the richness of the new voices, and this is something we are proud to celebrate. Rachel and Amy really impressed us with their assured and compelling debuts. We don’t envy the judges, but can’t wait to find out which title will win.”

Rachel J. Fenton was born in 1976 and grew up in the South Yorkshire mining town of Wombwell. She has a BA English Studies from Sheffield Hallam University, where she studied Creative Writing under the tutelage of E. A. Markham and currently lives in Auckland.

Rachel won Short Fiction’s 7th Annual Competition (in association with Plymouth University) and has been shortlisted for The Royal Society of New Zealand Manhire Prize, the Fish International Poetry Prize, Short Fiction’s 6th Annual Competition, and the University of Maine at Machias Ultra-Short Competition, and she was a Pushcart Prize nominee.

Amy Mason is a writer and performer who currently lives in Windsor. Her work is funny, brave and moving, and her autobiographical show The Islanders, which she wrote and performed in, won the 2013 Ideas Tap/Underbelly Edinburgh Fringe Fund. It received 5 and 4 star reviews, was recommended in the Guardian and the Observer and was a ‘must see’ show in The Stage. The illustrated script was published by Nasty Little Press.

Amy is 32 and grew up in Poole, near the seaside where much of her work is set. She performed her new show, Mass, a piece about her relationship with faith, at Bristol Old Vic this July.

Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council's city development committee, said, “The quality and quantity of submitted manuscripts for the Dundee Book Prize seems to increase every time. First time novelists from across the world are attracted to the prize and it is thanks to them that Dundee truly has a key place on the literary map.”

Helen Sedgwick, Managing Director at Cargo Publishing, said, “We were really impressed with the quality of both shortlisted books. It's exciting to see such outstanding talent and whatever happens we'll be proud to publish the winner!”

The 2013 winner was In the Rosary Garden by Nicola White, a mesmerising thriller of secrets and lies rising from the past to strangle the present. In the Rosary Garden has been shortlisted for Deanston Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award 2014.


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