The Bath Novel Award 2017 Winner’s Announcement


The Bath Novel Award &
Bath Children’s Novel Award 
Finding the best unsigned novelists across the globe


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“Reading these novels has been a JOY”

2017 judge, literary agent Laura Williams of Peters Fraser & Dunlop


Bath Novel Award 2017 Winner:



Prize: £2,000

“I’m very excited by The Pear Drum’s commercial potential, and I loved the creepy concept and the gothic undertones.” Laura Williams, literary agent and 2017 judge.

The Pear Drum is a gripping read. Loved the fairytale elements and touches of the gothic.”  Joanna Barnard, author of Precocious and Hush Little Baby.

Sophie Snell - Storyteller

Sophie Snell is a traditional oral storyteller. After a first career in accountancy, motherhood rekindled her love of stories and storytelling. She found her head blossoming with characters and ideas and began travelling the country, entertaining all ages with folk tales and songs. Sophie lives with her family in a rural Derbyshire house filled with music, books, cats and steaming wet sports kit dumped on the kitchen floor.

Always fascinated by fairy tales, the spark for The Pear Drum came to Sophie after moving to the country and waking to find her hillside farm house marooned in a white sea of autumn mist. Sophie imagined a woman travelling back to her childhood home, only to find it filled with fairy tale horrors and elusive memories. Sophie put the unpacking of her removal boxes on hold, cleared a writing desk and finished The Pear Drum just in time for the Bath Novel Award 2017 deadline.

Read the opening pages of all five shortlisted novels here

Visit Sophie Snell’s website at 



Bath Novel Award 2017 Shortlisted:




Also awarded the Cornerstones Literary Consultancy Prize (£500)


“I got totally swept up in reading this. The author is clearly both talented and ambitious.” Laura Williams, literary agent and 2017 judge.

Orlando pic 1

Ben Orlando lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and cat. For more than ten years he’s been hacking away at short stories, screen plays, and novels. Ben is also an English professor at George Mason University and produces a podcast called History Repeating Itself, which covers the repetition of past events in today’s world.

While researching hunter gatherer societies for an episode of the podcast, Ben stumbled across a link between choice paralysis and sickness which sparked the idea for his novel. In Lost Journals of Sundown, an obsessed scientist tries to prove the consequences of choice, while a suicidal writer turned detective struggles to stop him.

Read the opening pages of all five shortlisted novels here

Listen to Ben’s History Repeating Itself podcasts here


Bath Novel Award 2017 Shortlisted:


(Indie published, CRIME)

“A well-executed and moving story with a compelling protagonist.” Laura Williams, literary agent and 2017 judge.


Iain Rowan was born in Kent but has lived in Sunderland for the past 26 years. When he’s not working in higher education he’s a novelist, short story writer, and occasional poet. Iain is creative director for the Sunderland Festival of Creative Writing and works with local writers in Holmeside Writers, a group he founded in 2014. He’s been shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger and for the Northern Writers’ Award.

One of Us comes from Iain’s interest in writing crime fiction about people who live on the margins of society: not the police, not the real criminals, but people caught in between the two, and the moral and practical compromises that they have to make to survive in a world which, when it’s not forgetting them, is against them.

Read the opening pages of all five shortlisted novels here

Visit Iain’s website at

One of Us is available as an indie published ebook and paperbook here


Bath Novel Award 2017 Shortlisted:



“Hugely stylish, and very accomplished. I have no doubt it’ll do very well.” Laura Williams, literary agent and 2017 judge.

Nicholas Herrmann

Nicholas Herrmann graduated from the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa in 2016 with distinction, signing with the literary agency A.M. Heath in early 2017. He wrote and submitted The Light Factory as his final manuscript for the course, and was shortlisted for Bath Spa’s Janklow & Nesbit Prize.

Nicholas’ writing explores existential, speculative and ecological themes, rooted in everyday, human relationships. He wrote The Light Factory as an attempt to understand and reconcile issues common to his generation: depression, extinction, lost opportunities and the importance of art.

Read the opening pages of all five shortlisted novels here


Bath Novel Award 2017 Shortlisted:


(Unpublished, YOUNG ADULT)

“A great pitch with lots of potential, and I loved the twists and turns.” Laura Williams, literary agent and 2017 judge.


Penelope Davidmann studied History at University and went to work in social housing, writing poems and short stories in her spare time. After having children, she worked in a local independent bookshop for ten years and began writing stories for children. After an inspirational Arvon course, Penelope took the MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University. She wrote and submitted The Lost Sister as her final manuscript for the course.

In The Lost Sister a sixteen year old girl searches for the older sister who ran away from their religious sect. The rule they live by means forgetting she ever had a sister, but that is impossible. The Lost Sister is about family, friendship and leadership; when to follow and who to trust.

Read the opening pages of all five shortlisted novels here


2017 Longlist

Hazel Barkworth Honeysuckle
Annetta Berry The Binding Frame
Lorraine Cannell Hollow
Steven Coombs Lucas
Shymala Dason Over the Coconut Trees
Penelope Davidmann The Lost Sister
Rachael Dunlop Start Wearing Purple for Me Now
Martin Gilbert Enemies at the Gate
Carolyn Gillum Alt
Jennifer Harvey Complicity
Nasser Hashmi In a Rushdie Winter
Nick Herrman The Light Factory
Suzanne Hickey The Silence of Shannon
Pam Isfeld Brave Girls
Sarah Ann Juckes Proof of the Outside
Jo Lenaghan Forget Me Not
Sarah Linley The Pact
Claire Lyman After the Lunch
Louise Mangos Strangers on a Bridge
Lily Meyer Translations
Ben Orlando Lost Journals of Sundown
Ben Orlando Iraqnia
Iain Rowan One of Us
Vanessa Savage The History of You
Deidre Shanahan Mountainous Regions of the Heart
Christopher Shevlin Jonathon Fairfax Must Be Destroyed
Sophie Snell The Pear Drum
Cam Terwilliger Yet Wilderness Grew in my Heart
Ali Thum Jacob’s Ladder
Csilla Toldy Finding Freedom
Rebecca Trick-Walker The Still Gate
Madeleine Woosnam What Was Left Behind
Christopher Young Service


Read the Bath Novel Award 2017 longlist announcement in full here

Read the Bath Novel Award 2017 shortlist announcement in full here