The Bath Novel Award

We are delighted to announce the winner of The Bath Novel Award 2016 is KIM SHERWOOD for her unpublished novel TESTAMENT. 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.”




(Unpublished Literary Historical)

Prize: £2,000 


KimSherwoodauthorphoto copy

“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.”

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.

Read the opening chapters of TESTAMENT by Kim Sherwood here



(Unpublished Women’s Psychological Thriller)

Prize: £400 Cornerstones Literary Consultancy vouchers


Cornerstones Logo



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.

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


2016 Shortlisted: SCOTT BAIN for THE GOD BULLET

(Unpublished YA Science Fiction Thriller)


DSC_0060Scott Bain was born in Newcastle upon Tyne. 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 lives in Warwickshire.

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


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 Compeition 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.

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 Tannaka, 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, Tannaka 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. A highly accomplished manuscript which attracted high votes at every stage of the contest.”

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

Read The Bath Novel Award 2016 Shortlist Announcement in full here


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
Carol Gillum Alt
Kelleigh Greenberg 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
Elise 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


The Bath Novel Award is an annual £2,000 prize for unpublished and indie novelists writing for adults or young adults. The award is open to writers of any nationality, genre and perspective and has a strong track record in helping emerging writers to further their writing careers. To date, 89% of The Bath Novel Award’s unagented winners & shortlistees have accepted offers of representation from top literary agencies, with one in three also winning traditional publishing deals.  Read more… 


Cornerstones LogoThe Bath Novel Award is sponsored by Cornerstones Literary Consultancy


Susan-Armstrong-501x350 (2)“I’m hoping to find someone whose writing makes it impossible for me to think about anything else.”  2016 Judge SUSAN ARMSTRONG of Conville & Walsh. Read more…

paler 2016 Award Rules

  • The Bath Novel Award is a competition open to writers, of any nationality, who have yet to be traditionally published
  • For the purposes of this competition, “traditionally published” is defined as “having accepted an offer of publication with advance payment.” Self-published novels are eligible
  • Novels can be in any genre written for adult or young adult (13+) readers. Children’s novels are not eligible
  • The winner of The Bath Novel Award 2016, as judged by Susan Armstrong, will receive £2,000 plus our Minerva trophy designed by artist Jessica Palmer
  • One shortlisted writer will receive a Consultancy Report (8 to 12 pages approx.) from Cornerstones Literary Consultancy plus a 1.5 hour (including preparation) follow up session with an editor, (either in person, via email or Skype). This prize may be exchanged for vouchers from Cornerstones to the value of £400 (US$620) towards any editorial report or mentoring hours in either Cornerstones’ US or UK house. There is no cash alternative to this prize
  • Entries are open from October 13th, 2015 until midnight (BST) at the close of April 10th, 2016
  • Submissions should include (up to) the first 5,000 words of your novel, double-spaced in a size 12 font. Your synopsis should be one page, single spaced in a size 12 font
  • As entries are read ‘blind’, your name should NOT appear anywhere in your extract/synopsis document
  • The entrance fee is £22 per novel and you may enter as many novels as you wish.
  • Longlistees will be contacted in April 2016 and invited to submit their full (at least 50,000 words) manuscript for the final judging stages
  • Shortlisted novels will be announced in June 2016
  • The winner of The Bath Novel Award 2016 will be announced in July 2016
  • Novels must be your original work and in English
  • Entrants must be 16 years or over
  • The winner agrees to an interview which may be published on our site and in any media for publicity purposes
  • Entrants retain full copyright, however by entering, all shortlisted entrants give permission for us to post an extract of up to 5,000 words on our site
  • Entrants may be agented, but should not be represented by any agent at Conville & Walsh Literary Agency
  • Employees of The Bath Novel Award, Conville & Walsh and Cornerstones Literary Consultancy are not eligible
  • Submissions may not be altered after entry
  • Entries which do not comply with the competition rules may be disqualified

paler 2016 Entries are now CLOSED.

[The Bath Novel Award 2017 will open to entries on 1 December 2016 until 24th April 2017]

To enter a novel for The Bath Novel Award 2016, please firstly pay the entry fee of £22 per novel by one of three options:

  • Bank transfer: account number 22562591 (“The Bath Novel Award”) Sort Code 60-24-77 (Natwest Bank, Bath), referencing your novel’s title
  • Debit/credit card or PayPal payment via the below ‘Buy Now’ button

Buy Now Button

  • Cheque/postal orders (£GB only) payable to “The Bath Novel Award” and sent to: The Bath Novel Award, PO Box 5223, Bath, BA1 0UR, England, UK

Then submit your novel by one of the two below options:

  • ONLINE: Save your novel extract (up to the first 5,000 words) and synopsis (one page) together in one pdf, .docx or Word doc, then email to quoting your novel’s title in the subject box. In the text of your email, please state your name, address, telephone number, novel title, genre, extract and approximate full manuscript word counts, plus your method of entry fee payment, mentioning if payment is made under a different name. Online entries are acknowledged by return email within 24 hours.
  • POSTAL: Mail your novel extract (up to the first 5,000 words) and synopsis (one page) to: The Bath Novel Award, PO Box 5223, Bath, BA1 0UR, England, UK together with a covering page stating your name, address, telephone number, novel title, genre, extract and approximate full manuscript word counts, plus your method of entry fee payment. (Please enclose an SAE if you would like acknowledgement).