Dundee International Book Prize 2015 finalists announced

The Chicken Soup Murder by Maria Donovan, Devil Take the Hindmost by Martin Cathcart Froden and Rainbirds by Clarissa Nathania Goenawan will compete for the top spot in this year’s Dundee International Book Prize, which attracted almost 500 entries from four continents.

Maria, Martin and Clarissa’s novels will now go before this year’s all-star judging panel comprising broadcaster and former Rector of University of Dundee Fred MacAulay, award-winning writer Denise Mina, Creative Scotland’s Jenny Niven, Dundee Honorary graduate Danny Wallace and literary agent Ed Wilson.

The judges will read each and select a winner, who will be 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 A publishing deal with Cargo Publishing and £10,000 – the largest cash prize for unpublished work in the UK – is up for grabs.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 10 authors who made the shortlist stage of the competition is available for one week from Tuesday, 14th July as a free eBook from Amazon and priced at 99p thereafter. The top title will be named as the eleventh 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’ve got three really brilliant debut novels on our hands in what’s been a particularly strong year for the Dundee International Book Prize, selected from the ten superb novels on the shortlist.

“We’re really proud to celebrate brand new voices here in our City of Discovery, through our festival, the work of our colleagues in the University’s Writing Practice and Study Masters programme, and especially through the Dundee International Book Prize. Maria, Martin and Clarissa would all be worthy and welcome winners. The judges have some tough decisions ahead and we can’t wait to hear their decision.”

Maria Donovan is from Bridport in Dorset. She's lived in other countries, speaks fluent Dutch, and has been a factory worker, nurse, gardener, magician's assistant, busker, student and university lecturer. Maria’s short stories have been published in magazines and anthologies, including the New Welsh Review and Mslexia, and a full collection of her short stories, Pumping Up Napoleon, has been published by Seren.

Originally from Sweden, Martin Cathcart Froden has lived in Canada, Israel, Argentina and London and worked as a drummer, avocado picker, sound engineer, magazine editor and greengrocer, as well as teaching English in prisons. His fiction has been shortlisted for various awards including the Bridport Prize, and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. He recently completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University, where he will be starting his doctoral studies in 2015. He lives in a tiny flat with his wife, three young children and an array of bicycle parts.

Clarissa N. Goenawan is a Singapore-based writer and a graduate of the Curtis Brown Creative novel-writing course. She’s also a recipient of National Arts Council of Singapore grant and a mentee on the WoMentoring Project. Her short stories have won several awards, and been published in The MacGuffin, Your Impossible Voice, Black Denim Lit, Needle In The Hay, and Writing The City. Rainbirds, her shortlisted novel, has just been awarded the 2015 Bath Novel Award, worth £1000.

Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council's city development committee, said, “The city is firmly on the literary map not just because of the quantity and range of manuscripts submitted for the Book Prize, but because of the extremely high quality of entries that are submitted.

“I don't envy the judges their task in picking a winner, but I do know that whichever novel is chosen will be right out of the top drawer.”

Gill Tasker, Joint Managing Director at Cargo Publishing, said, “We're delighted that, once again, the Dundee International Book Prize shortlist has produced three outstanding novels and our congratulations go to all three talented authors. We're excited to be publishing the winner, whoever that will be!”

The 2014 winner was Amy Mason for her book The Other Ida, a powerful debut about a play and the troubling family history that surrounds it, described by fellow author Emma Jane Unsworth as ‘fresh, lyrical, fearless, and very funny’. Amy has appeared at Aye Write in Glasgow and Bristol Festival of Ideas, among others, and will be at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August. The Other Ida is up for the First Book Award at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival, a prize which celebrates the wealth of new writing included in the Book Festival programme each year.

This year’s shortlist is available at http://amzn.to/1O5CQjx.


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