Way back in January, we launched Tonto Books' North East New Novelists 2008 contest. There were 121 eligible entries, which is remarkable considering entry was restricted to writers in the North East of England with completed manuscripts. We knew there were lots of writers out there with ideas for books, first chapters and unfinished drafts stuffed away in drawers... but we were amazed by the number of entries as well as the high standard. The task of selecting the winners was performed by judges Wendy Robertson and Caroline Smailes.
And the winning manuscripts and authors are (drumroll please)...
'Make It Back' by Sarah Shaw.
In Make It Back, Muriel leaves her family to nurse sick and injured children in the Spanish Civil War. Forty years later, Muriel's decision leads her granddaughter, Dee,
into love, into danger and, finally, into the passion and dust of south-eastern Spain.
Sarah is from Blackhall Mill and is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. She will be mentored by Wendy Robertson over the next couple of months as she puts the finishing touches to her novel, which will be published by Tonto in January 2009.
'9987' by Nik Jones.
Tragic and dark, 9987 is a story about a jagged and at times disturbing world where only three things are constant: fantasy, loneliness and love. It's a tale about a crime that only one person seems to care about.
Nik is a teacher and 'occasional barman' from Consett. He will be mentored by Caroline Smailes, and 9987 will also be published by Tonto in January.
Congratulations to Sarah and Nik, and thanks to the judges Wendy and Caroline, and everyone who took the time to enter the contest. The high quality and variety of submissions showed that the North East really is a hotbed of writing talent and thoroughly justified our desire to run this project.
Keep checking future blogs for updates on progress.