The Bath Novel Award 2023

We are delighted to announce the winner of the tenth Bath Novel Award.

Established in 2013, the Bath Novel Awards are international prizes for emerging authors. Recipients include Abi Daré for the manuscript of The Girl with the Louding Voice, Kim Sherwood for Testament and AP Firdaus for Remember, Mr Sharma.

Kate Barker, 2023 judge

A record number of submissions were received from authors in 74 countries, with a 30 strong longlist announced in June, followed by a shortlist of six in July. Kate Barker, 2023 judge, said: “There was much to admire in all these novels: the standard was very high”.

Our heartfelt thanks to Kate for her wisdom, care and consideration in judging this year’s winning novel.

Judge’s comments: “The winner, OUT OF NOWHERE, is a tense, disturbing literary thriller, set in Australia, about an escaped prisoner on the run, trying to see his long-lost daughter again. It is an impressive, dark-hearted novel which is hugely atmospheric, has an authentic and gripping sense of nastiness, and is peopled by totally convincing characters who perhaps weren’t born bad but time and again make bad decisions in tough circumstances.” -Kate Barker.

Bath Novel Award 2023 Winner | Prize: £3,000
IAN NETTLETON for Out of Nowhere
Literary thriller | unpublished

Photo credit: Martin Figura

IAN NETTLETON is from Yorkshire and lives in Norwich. He teaches creative writing for the National Centre for Writing and the Open University and has worked in advertising, in a book shop, as a cleaner, an illustrator, a care worker and a teacher in Prague. He was runner-up in both the Bath Novel Award 2014 and the Bridport Novel Prize 2014 and Out of Nowhere is a loose prequel to his 2014 manuscript.

Out of Nowhere is a literary thriller based on Ian’s own journeys in Australia – everywhere the protagonist goes, Ian has gone. It is the story of Frank Neely, a small-time criminal who is implicated in the massacre of some prison guards and who heads up the east coast of Queensland to see his young daughter one last time, pursued by the police and a streak of bad luck that leads him into some unexpectedly dark and treacherous places.

Bath Novel Award 2023 Shortlisted:
ELSPETH LATIMER for The Lost Detective
Crime / detective | unpublished

ELSPETH LATIMER studied Architecture at Cambridge University and spent a year in Italy after winning the Rome Prize. Her love of reading prompted her to start writing and she completed an MA in Prose Fiction at the University of East Anglia, followed by a PhD on crime series. Her research has been published in the UK and USA, and she has worked part-time as a creative-writing tutor.

For the past two decades Elspeth and her family have lived in the Brecks, an area at the heart of East Anglia. The subtle beauty of this landscape together with the realities of contemporary rural life inspired her to write The Lost Detective, a crime novel about murder, a missing baby, and overcoming loss.

Bath Novel Award 2023 Shortlisted:
KANAKO MABUCHI for After the Rain, Earth Hardens
Historical | unpublished

KANAKO MABUCHI is a global nomad, currently living in the Old City of Baku, Azerbaijan, with her husband and two children.  She has completed the Advanced Creative Writing course at the University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education and Curtis Brown Creative’s three month novel writing course.

An international civil servant by day, Kanako started writing After the Rain, Earth Hardens while serving in Timor-Leste during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Since moving to Azerbaijan in 2022, she has been pondering about narratives of war and who are remembered how in both public and private discourses.  Writing the novel has been a personal journey of reconciliation with her native Japan, a country that continues to define her.

Bath Novel Award 2023 Shortlisted:
JANICE OKOH for The Girl with The Light Eyes
Crime / detective | unpublished

JANICE OKOH is a multi-award-winning playwright and radio dramatist and currently develops scripts for television. She has an MA in Creative Writing (Scriptwriting) from the University of East Anglia. Janice has worked as a Lecturer at Southampton University and as a banking paralegal in London.

The Girl with The Light Eyes is a contemporary thriller about a lost child set in Nigeria. Janice is British-Nigerian and began writing novels as a teenager but dropped it in her 20s. She returned to it in 2020 during lockdown after taking a Curtis Brown Creative short course.

Bath Novel Award 2023 Shortlisted:
Historical | unpublished

JOHANNA ROBINSON lives in Liverpool, England with her family. She began writing on a Comma Press writing course, and has shortlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award and longlisted for the Blue Pencil Award.

Silverfern is a retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone, in the Victorian age of ‘fernmania’ and ‘orchidelirium’, when Botanic Gardens represented an intersection – of classes, the wild and the tame, hope and failure. It was inspired by the history of the Liverpool Botanic Gardens, which Johanna came across while researching a short story. Johanna’s writing is usually inspired by a particular place and the people who once lived there, and she aims to transport the reader into that world.

Bath Novel Award 2023 Shortlisted:
JAMES SCHANNEP for Social Vampire
Young adult crossover | independently published

JAMES SCHANNEP is an American author, husband, and father of three who has lived in Texas, California, New Jersey, Colorado, Kansas, Alabama, Montana, Germany, and England. As a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and General Engineering, he served honorably in the armed forces before turning to writing full time. He’s written award-winning screenplays and short stories, as well as the Click Your Poison series of interactive, branching-path gamebooks.

Social Vampire, a comedic coming-of-age story, is his first novel. Schannep doesn’t daydream in montage and never pretended to be a vampire, but he did move frequently during his childhood, and knows what it’s like to be the New Kid at a new school. Social Vampire is about love, loss, and learning empathy through a sense of humor. 

“I love this story, with its terrific sense of place (Nigeria) from the outset, a winning heroine, who is flawed and yet has astounding agency. The use of direct language is fantastic, I love the rhythm of the story, the local details and how the dialogue is well observed. There’s so much here that is positive, with a writing style that’s fluid and enchanting.”

Monica Chakraverty, Editorial Director, Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.

The Cornerstones PWA Prize 2023 is awarded for the most promising Bath Novel Award longlisted manuscript Linda Temienor-Vincent wins a place on the eighteen week CPD accredited course Edit Your Novel from Cornerstones Literary Consultancy and the Professional Writing Academy

The Bath Novel Award 2023 Longlist

All listed authors win feedback on their opening extract and synopsis from Monica Chakraverty, Editorial Director and Head of Scouting at Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.

Claire AckroydMy Family, Decomposed
J. C. BosserHook & Dagger
Danielle CahillTrad Wives
Emma CowingThe Show Woman
A. ForresterThree Steps of the Sun
Gina GiordanoStrange Eden
Jennifer HarrymanA Tale of Two Parties
Karina HolmLight at the End of the Fjord
David HudacekSmall Town Echoes of Metallic Minds
Dexter HuttDigging Deep
Julia KellyAll The Words Unsaid
Elspeth LatimerThe Lost Detective
Kanako MabuchiAfter the Rain, Earth Hardens
Hannah McCannParachute Silk
Lesley McNeightSailing Over Bones
Angela MartinGoldfields
Carmen MorawskiIn Solidarity
Ian NettletonOut of Nowhere
Janice OkohThe Girl With The Light Eyes
Nasrin ParvazCoffee
Kayleigh RattleGin Lane
Johanna RobinsonSilverfern
Kathryn SanfordLovebird
James SchannepSocial Vampire
Carys ShannonTruth Like Water
Rosie StoreyAfire
Kate StreipZella
Linda Temienor-VincentHow to Marrie a Rich Man
Jennifer WellerFallen
Rhona WhitefordThe House Between Time

Bath Novel Award 2023 Shortlist Announcement

Bath Novel Award 2023 Longlist Announcement

Bath Novel Award 2023 Judge

NOW OPEN FOR CHILDREN’S / YA SUBMISSIONS – From picture book texts to YA novels, we’d love the chance to read your book. Click here.