THE BATH NOVEL AWARD

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The Bath Novel Award &

Bath Children’s Novel Award 

Finding the best unsigned novelists across the globe

£2,000 prize | £500 shortlist award plus literary agent introductions


The quality of the finalists of this prize is always amazingly high, and we’re always watching to see what comes out of the prize. I’m very excited to be judging the award.” Laura Williams, Bath Novel Award 2017 Judge.


Now OPEN: The Bath Novel Award 2017 

Entries are invited until 24th April 2017 from unpublished and independently-published novelists writing for adults or young adults

Judge: Laura Williamsliterary agent

Prize: £2,000 plus £500 shortlist award & literary agent introductions

Entry Fee: £25 per novel

Eligibility:  Full terms & entry details here


laura-williams-pfd-photoThe Bath Novel Award 2017 is delighted to welcome literary agent LAURA WILLIAMS as Bath Novel Award 2017 Judge. Since joining Peters Fraser & Dunlop in 2011, Williams has built an exciting list of exceptional debut novelists including inaugural Bath Novel Award shortlistee Catherine Barter. Read our 2017 Judge’s interview here.


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The Bath Novel Award & Bath Children’s Novel Award are sponsored by Cornerstones Literary Consultancy


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Bath Novel Award 2016 Winner: KIM SHERWOOD for TESTAMENT

(Unpublished Literary Historical)

Prize: £2,000 

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“I began writing TESTAMENT in 2012 after visiting a friend in Berlin. Standing in the architectural voids of the Jewish Museum, I was struck by an idea: could the voids be used structurally in a novel to place the present and past in conversation, tunnelling through time? When I got home, my main characters, Silk and Eva, seemed to be waiting. The first stages of writing helped me navigate the recent death of my grandfather, and attempt to understand the stories my grandmother – who is a Holocaust Survivor – told me about her experiences as a child in fascist Hungary. As the novel developed, right-wing extremism returned across Europe, influencing the direction of my writing. Over the next four years, my research took me back to Berlin, to Serbia, the Lake District, and Hungary. TESTAMENT took shape between the archive and the streets of Europe today, between Lake Windermere, the Thames, and the banks of the Danube.”

Judge Susan Armstrong of Conville & Walsh Literary Agency commented:

This was an incredible shortlist – so much talent, which made it as hard as it was joyful as the judge to read and pick a winner. I hoped to find something wonderful on the shortlist, but I never expected to read a novel so profoundly moving and exquisitely written as this debut. It’s one of those very rare gems where you’re immediately enthralled by the story and the characters, where the page turns itself. Not many writers can make me feel like this and that sense of emotional investment and connection rang true from the first page to the last. TESTAMENT is an absolutely stunning debut. I feel a better person from having read it and incredibly lucky to have shared in Silk and Eva’s world. TESTAMENT opens with death of Joseph Silk, a renowned artist and holocaust survivor, and most beloved grandfather to Eva. Reeling from her loss, Eva begins to uncover the life her grandfather lived before she was born, and in doing so uncovers old secrets that may explain her own muddled life. Shifting between Eva’s present and Silk’s past as a teenager struggling through WW2, this is a novel about limitless love, unshakeable regret and to what extent we have control over the sort of person we become.”

Kim grew up in Camden, next to Hampstead Heath. She pursued her MA in creative writing at the University of East Anglia 2011-2012, and then moved onto the Ph.D in critical and creative writing at UEA with a full studentship. She is interested in how fiction can engage with history, place genres in dialogue with one another, explore language, and participate in political discourse. During her Ph.D, Kim taught literature and creative writing at UEA for two years, and worked as an archivist for the British Archive for Contemporary Writing. She now teaches on the critical and creative writing MA at the University of Sussex. Her stories and articles have appeared in Lighthouse Journal, Going Down Swinging, Mslexia, The Letters Page, Belleville Park Pages, and elsewhere. Kim lives in Bath and shortly after winning accepted an offer of representation from Susan Armstrong of Conville & Walsh.

Read the opening chapters of TESTAMENT by Kim Sherwood here

Interview: Kim Sherwood on winning The Bath Novel Award 2016 


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2016 Runner up: LAURA MARSHALL for FRIEND REQUEST

(Unpublished Women’s Psychological Thriller)

Prize: £400 Cornerstones Literary Consultancy vouchers

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Laura MarshallIn 2015, freelance conference producer Laura Marshall decided it was time to fulfil a lifetime’s ambition to write a novel, and enrolled on the Curtis Brown Creative three month novel writing course. When the course began in November 2015, she had written just two chapters of the novel that would become Friend Request, a psychological thriller about a woman who receives a Facebook friend request from a  school friend who died twenty-five years ago. By April 2016, Laura had completed a first draft and reached the shortlist for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize 2016. Laura lives in Kent with her husband and two children and recently accepted an offer of representation from Felicity Blunt, literary agent at Curtis Brown. In July 2016, Laura accepted a six figure book deal from Sphere (Little, Brown) for Friend Request.

Judge Susan Armstrong of Conville & Walsh said: “FRIEND REQUEST gave me goose-bumps from the first page, when forty year old Louise receives a friend request on Facebook from Maria, a girl she bullied at school and who died twenty five years’ ago. When she starts receiving threatening messages that imply Louise was responsible for Maria’s death – something Louise has secretly believed to be true for years – and that she’s going to pay for what she did, Louise must confront her shadowy past. But it’s not her own past she should be so afraid of. This fast-paced, compulsive debut has huge potential and I loved it.”

Read the opening chapters of FRIEND REQUEST by Laura Marshall here

Read Laura Marshall’s interview here


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2016 Shortlisted: SCOTT BAIN for THE GOD BULLET

(Unpublished YA Science Fiction Thriller)

DSC_0060Scott Bain was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and now lives in Warwickshire. After a stint at art college, he worked in London advertising agencies as an art director before realising it would be much more fun looking after his two sons at home. The God Bullet, his first full-length novel, is set in a future London. A teenage boy is hired to fire dangerous curses from his high-powered sniper rifle until a hit goes badly wrong making him enemy number one in the London underworld. Scott is now represented by literary agent Lauren Clarke at Bell Lomax Moreton.

Caroline Ambrose, Founder of The Bath Novel Award commented: “This is a fast-paced, action-packed story with a compelling narrator and distinctive voice. The setting is Outer London in 2049 where the ancient art of cursing is flourishing via sniper gun bullets.Thirteen year-old Jay becomes a hit man for a master curse maker, after his widowed father struggles  to provide for them, and is drawn into a world where almost everyone is out for themselves. The world building is fresh, imaginative and drawn with a light touch. A real page turner with great voice and terrific dialogue throughout.”

Read the opening chapters of THE GOD BULLET by Scott Bain here

Read Scott Bain’s interview here


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2016 Shortlisted: CATHY LAYNE for YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL

(Unpublished High-end Commercial)

Cathy_Layne_author_photograph (2)While working as an editor in Tokyo, Liverpool-born Cathy Layne met a literary agent who mentored her through two early novels. The second of these was longlisted in the Mslexia Novel Competition in 2015 and garnered some interest from UK publishing houses but ultimately did not find a home. Cathy continued to write at her weekend cottage in a seaside village outside Tokyo. Every Friday evening, she took a packed commuter train from the city to the end of the line, a journey which sowed the seeds for her third novel, You’re Beautiful, in which an English girl in Japan becomes the victim of a deluded stalker. Cathy is currently living in Bangkok where she teaches English to small children. Cathy is now represented by Zoe Ross at United Agents.

Caroline Ambrose, Founder of The Bath Novel Award commented: “You’re Beautiful is a strong and suspenseful, character-driven thriller with well woven subplots, a distinctive cast and unforgettable anti-hero lead. John Lennon Tanaka, born of Japanese parents and raised by his single mother in Liverpool, is working as an English teacher in Tokyo while searching for the father who walked out before he was born, about whom his mother refuses to talk. Overweight and socially awkward, Tanaka is prone to developing unrequited crushes on women. He starts to stalk an English girl, Lisa, who lives nearby and is in Tokyo to pursue a man with whom she had a brief holiday romance. The suburban beachy setting is super vivid and fresh. This is a highly accomplished manuscript which attracted high votes at every stage of the contest.”

Read Shortlistee News: Cathy Layne signs with Zoe Ross at United Agents here

Read the opening chapters of YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL by Cathy Layne here

Read Cathy Layne’s interview here

Read The Bath Novel Award 2016 Shortlist Announcement in full here


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2016 Longlist

Annetta Berry The Binding Frame
Leona Ashton Looking for Heaven
Erika Banerji Morning Song
Anna Baness North Rook
Damyanti Biswas You Beneath Your Skin
Nadine Bjursten By These Limbs
Brendan Boehning In Love with the Furies
Lorraine Brown The Paris Train
Richard Buxton Whirligig
Sharon Cook Hope
Philip Connor Finn Permanence
Shymala Dason Monsoon Coming
Carolyn Gillum Alt
Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott Swan Song
Marianne Holmes Your Sleeping Head
Theresa Howes The Debut
Nicola Keller Half a Girl
Gaby Koppel Reparation
Jennifer Laird House of Smouldering Tears
Elisa Lodato An Unremarkable Body
Katy Mahood Entanglement
Rachel Malcolm One Act of Defiance
Brogan McEllan Thirteen, Backwards
Laura McKenna Field Of Blackbirds
Lesley McLaren An Easy Deceit
Saima Mir The Khan
Kali Napier Songs of all Poets
Kali Napier An Emu War
Laurie Petrou Sister of Mine
CL Raven The Devil’s Servants
Marisa Roemer The Resurrectionists
Andy Rumbold The Last Fiesta
Joanne Sefton The Half Life of Barbara Kipling
John Taylor A Policy on Kissing
Stephanie Vanderslice Beautiful, Terrible Things

Read The Bath Novel Award 2016 Longlist Announcement in full here