Announcing the winner of the Bath Novel Award 2019

Bath Novel Award 2019 Winner | Prize: £2,500

KATE SIMANTS for A Ruined Girl

Crime | unpublished

“Crime novel exploring the real meaning of a burglary gone wrong and the fall out for two children raised in a care home as well as Bristol probation officer Wren Reynolds. I loved the energy of the novel. It’s ambitious, complex and deeply satisfying – all things I want in my crime reads. The characters are exceedingly well drawn and the pacing and plotting is perfectly executed. It was such a joy to read.” 

2019 judge, literary agent Hellie Ogden of Janklow & Nesbit

After a decade working in the UK television industry, specialising in investigative documentaries, police shows and undercover work, Kate Simants relocated from London to Bristol to concentrate on writing. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Brunel Univeristy (2007) and another in Crime Fiction from the University of East Anglia (2018), where she was the recipient of the UEA Literary Festival Scholarship. 
A RUINED GIRL is her third completed manuscript and was written on her recent MA course. It is informed by her experiences  working undercover in children’s homes in London and the South East while making a documentary about corruption and abuse in the care industry. Her first book, THE BLANKS, has been banished forever to a dark corner of the Cloud, while her second, a psychological thriller entitled LOCK ME IN, was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger and will be released digitally in October 2019. Kate is represented by Veronique Baxter at David Higham Associates.
Read an extract from A Ruined Girl and all the shortlisted books here

Bath Novel Award 2019 Shortlisted:

LEIGH CHAMBERS for Alice & Iris

Historical | unpublished

“Based on the true story of the Cottingley Fairies, an examination of the relationship between Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright who claimed in 1917 and 1920 to have taken photographs of fairies at a beck in the Yorkshire village of Cottingley until in 1983 the women confessed the photos were faked. Stunning, whimsical tone that I thoroughly enjoyed and such an original hook. Clever flipping between view points and characters you completely fall for. “

2019 judge, literary agent Hellie Ogden of Janklow & Nesbit

Leigh Chambers has always been fascinated by the story of the Cottingley Fairies. The more she read, the more involved she became. With the help of Jill Dawson from the Gold Dust Mentoring Scheme, she completed a final draft of Alice & Iris in 2019.

When not writing fiction, Leigh is a humanist celebrant conducting non-religious wedding and naming ceremonies, works as a copy editor, and presents a show about books and writing on Cambridge 105 Radio.

Leigh spent a large part of her working life in London as a Head of Communications for various voluntary sector organisations. Before that, she was a freelance journalist with work published in The Guardian, City Limits (theatre reviews) and The Sunday Correspondent as well as several women’s magazines. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Anglia Ruskin University, is newly represented by Annette Crossland of A for Authors and lives in Cambridge with her two daughters and three cats.

Read an extract from Alice & Iris and all the shortlisted books here

Bath Novel Award 2019 Shortlisted:

ROBIN FALVEY for Sacrifice

Young adult | unpublished

“Powerful portrayal of a family grieving a soldier post a suicide bomber attack as well as the family of the bomber himself. It’s not easy to write freshly on this subject or indeed with the high level of sensitivity required. I loved the brothers and how a very masculine, macho world could still be depicted with such beauty and warmth. I enjoyed watching the progression of all these characters and the ending was just so perfectly pitched.” 

2019 judge, literary agent Hellie Ogden of Janklow & Nesbit

Robin Falvey is a sea swimmer, surfer, and former surf lifesaver who, twelve years ago, switched his IT job for more ‘hands-on’ technology, moving to New Zealand to work on the 19th century-rigged tall ship Soren Larsen.

After sailing the Southern Ocean and South Pacific, and making a radio documentary about his experiences, Robin returned to the UK to take an MA in journalism. After a stint as a sports reporter for BBC Radio Cornwall, he took to copywriting and writing writing. In 2015, Robin’s first book, Fulmar – a very Cornish surfing coming of age story – was shortlisted for the BNA. This new novel, Sacrifice, a tale of war, extremism, love, and revenge, also has a distinctively Cornish flavour. 
Read an extract from Sacrifice and all the shortlisted books here

Bath Novel Award 2019 Shortlisted:

EMILY HUGHES for Ghost Boy 

Literary | unpublished

“Quirky, reading group novel looking at the difficulties of raising an autistic son and the impact on one family. Absolutely stunning on motherhood, hardship and the complexities of disabilities. Really original storytelling and tone and I adored Rex.” 

2019 judge, literary agent Hellie Ogden of Janklow & Nesbit

Emily Hughes was born in Switzerland, grew up on the Wirral and now lives in Berkshire with her family. She studied English and German Literature at Warwick University and has an MA in Photography and Urban Cultures from Goldsmith’s College, University of London. Emily started writing Ghost Boy after many years of experience teaching in schools, working with young people with special needs, and following her own son’s diagnosis of autism. She sat down at her kitchen table one day and began to write about an autistic boy who sees ghosts and after receiving positive feedback on an Arvon residential course was encouraged to continue with her story.

Emily came to writing through photography and blogging; writing short pieces of flash fiction, poems and short stories to accompany her pictures. Her story ideas are often sparked by a single image. Emily can usually be found with a camera in hand or at her laptop, writing, often burning her children’s dinner. Ghost Boy won the Adventures in Fiction Spotlight First Novel Award and was recently short-listed for the Peggy Chapman Award for a First Novel. 

Read an extract from Ghost Boy and all the shortlisted books here

Bath Novel Award 2019 Shortlisted:

LOUISE TUCKER for The Last Field

Uplit | unpublished

“Beautifully written depiction of grief after George’s wife Emmeline dies on the first day of his retirement. I loved the sense of reflection, the carefully crafted and sensitive look at a life ground to a halt and subsequently the slow, steady road to recovery and understanding. All the characters are meticulously drawn and beautifully nuanced and there are individual lines here that floored me.” 

2019 judge, literary agent Hellie Ogden of Janklow & Nesbit

Louise Tucker always wanted to write fiction but, until 2017, could never get past a first chapter. That year, a landmark birthday and a return to teaching made her think: why not try again, one last time. It might be too late, or it might not… At the same moment, she saw a write-up of Louise Dean’s new Novel-in-90-Days course and became her first student.

For the next three months Louise got up an hour earlier than usual and wrote 1,000 words or so longhand. She says: “I loved every minute of it. Everywhere I looked I found a part of the story: at the theatre; sitting on the Tube; out walking in the New Forest. I finished the first draft in eight weeks, spent three months typing it up, a year editing and then started submitting it to competitions. The Bath Novel Award is my first shortlisting.”

When not writing, Louise is freelance cookbook editor and part-time lecturer. She lives in London with her partner and in August was awarded the inaugural Agora Books Lost the Plot Work in Progress Prize for the opening chapters of The Last Field.

Read an extract from The Last Field and all the shortlisted books here


The Cornerstones Literary Consultancy Prize for most promising longlisted manuscript is awarded to: 

JEZ PINFOLD for The Sins

Crime | Unpublished

Prize: the online course Edit Your Novel the Professional Way 


Bath Novel Award 2019 Longlisted

Alice and Iris
Leigh Chambers
Apples in the Dark
John Taylor
A Ruined GirlKate Simants
Behind You They're Watching
Ben Orlando
Bridging the Gap
Abigail Johnson
Cassandra Farrin
Maia Nikitina
Ghost BoyEmily Hughes
How to Bury the Living
Hugh Blackthorne
I am Winter
Denise Spencer
Lock Down
Carol Lucas
Robin Falvey
Some Like it Cold
Vanessa Edwards
The Accomplice
Wendy Coleman
The Bones Beneath Her
Shona Mallalieu
The Dream World
Steven Coombs
The Eternals
Melissa Welliver
The Girl with All the Cards
Johanna Handley
The Last Field
Louise Tucker
The Sins
Jez Pinfold
The Snow was Porcelain and the Rain was Glass
Kristen Loesch
The Trauma Pool
John Kennedy
To Live with What You Are
Charlie Gracie
Too Soon
Alison Marlow
We Bring Them with Us
Martin Gilbert
Words to Shape my Name
Laura McKenna
Read the full longlist announcement here
Read the full shortlist announcement here