Bath Novel Award 2018 Winner  

ABI DARÉ for The Girl with the Louding Voice

(Commercial, unpublished) | Prize: £2,500

2018 judge, Felicity Blunt of Curtis Brown said: “I loved The Girl with the Louding Voice, a contemporary story with old bones and a main character that literally sings to you. How exciting it has been to find such talent in the Bath Novel Award.” 

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Abi Daré was born in Lagos, Nigeria and has lived in the UK for the last 18 years.  She has a Law degree from the University of Wolverhampton and an MSc in Project Management from Glasgow Caledonian University.  Keen to improve her writing, Abi applied for the MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck University of London. The Girl with The Louding Voice formed part of her thesis and was also selected as a finalist in The Literary Consultancy Pen Factor competition in 2018.   Abi lives with her husband and children in Essex and works for a leading academic publisher in London.

Having grown up with young, female housemaids most of all her life, Abi had always wanted to write about issues with feminism and modern-day slavery in her home country; particularly in a voice that was true to the character she wanted to create.  The character’s voice finally came to her a week before her first MA supervision appointment.   Following encouraging feedback from her supervisor to that first submission, Abi wrote furiously and completed the first draft in six months.  She finished revising the first draft just in time for the Bath Novel Award 2018 deadline.

Read the opening pages of The Girl with the Louding Voice HERE

Interview: Abi Daré on winning and accepting representation with Felicity Blunt

Bath Novel Award 2018 Shortlisted:


(Urban fantasy, unpublished)

PSphoto1Pericles Snowdon was born to Greek and Scottish-Canadian parents, growing up in rural Berkshire. He trained as an actor in London, performing in the West End’s War Horse, through Europe with Shakespeare’s Globe, and in Asia for the Singapore Rep. His written plays have been produced in London, Edinburgh, Toronto, Seattle and New York. In his spare time he’s a dubious 12-string guitarist, house-slave to a pair of Turkish Van Cats, and a bouldering addict.

Last year he was juggling a YA fantasy, Winks, and a choose-your-own-adventure-book for adults, Liquorish. After a particularly gruelling deadline he vowed to set his laptop aside for the week. That night came a dream: two colourful literary agents were hunting through his manuscripts for a diabolical ‘bookworm’. It seemed a fitting stage on which to explore the symbiosis of imagination and reality. The motley characters started hopscotching worlds, and Inkland began that morning.

Read the opening page of Inkland and all the shortlisted novels HERE

Bath Novel Award 2018 Shortlisted:

NEEMA SHAH for Kololo Hill

(Historical, unpublished)

Neema Shah photoNeema Shah rekindled her love for creative writing after building a career in marketing. The real-life events in Uganda and her family background inspired her to write the novel. She prefers to work at home but London Underground and Southeastern Railways carriages are her usual writing rooms. Neema is newly represented by literary agent Jenny Savill at Andrew Nurnberg Associates.

Kololo Hill won the TLC (The Literary Consultancy) Pen Factor Live, shortlisted in the First Novel Prize and York Festival of Writing Best Opening Chapter and longlisted in the Exeter Novel Prize and Retreat West First Chapter competitions. The novel is set amidst the 1972 expulsion of the Ugandan Asians by brutal ruler Idi Amin, when recently-married Asha and her family are forced to leave everything behind except the devastating secrets that threaten to tear them apart.

Read the opening page of Kololo Hill and all the shortlisted novels HERE

Bath Novel Award 2018 Shortlisted:


(Literary, unpublished)

Author Jaqueline Haskell sitting on stone steps in Walcot, Bath
Photo credit: Emma Seal

Jacqueline Haskell turned down a place at Oxford for a career in the theatre. She’s also a poet with an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London. Her poems and short fiction have shortlisted in The Bridport Prize, The Fish Publishing Prize and won the TSS International Fiction Competition 2016. Jacqui lives in the New Forest and when she’s not writing, works as a healer.

It took her ten years to write The Auspice, owing largely to extended periods of writer’s block and two brushes with cancer along the way. The Auspice started out as a short story on her first visit to Tenerife, and so began a love affair with both the island and the fiction. It is a novel of volcanoes and second chances, of one man living two lives. Now that she’s finally finished it, she finds that she misses her protagonist, Stingray, and thinks about him every day. She is working on her second novel, Earthquake Practice, which she hopes will be an altogether quicker and healthier affair.

Read the opening page of The Auspice and all the shortlisted novels HERE

Bath Novel Award 2018 Shortlisted:


(YA, unpublished)

victoria_richardsVictoria Richards is a journalist and writer with an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London. In 2017/18 she was highly commended in the Bridport Prize, came third in The London Magazine short story competition and second in the TSS international flash fiction competition. She was also longlisted in the National Poetry Competition, the Fish Publishing Poetry Prize and shortlisted in the Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize 2018. Victoria is represented by literary agent Julia Churchill at AM Heath.

Her novel, The Furies, tells the story of three London schoolgirls taking power back from those who have wronged them, It is a dark story of obsessive love, and also examines the suffocating intensity of teenage relationships. The first draft, which she wrote while also putting together her debut poetry collection, took three months to write. The second, which involved rewriting the book from scratch and a change from third to first person, took another three months. She’s now on her third and – tentatively, hopefully – final draft. Victoria is also a co-founder of The Second Source, which aims to tackle sexual harassment in the media.

Read the opening page of The Furies and all the shortlisted novels HERE


The Cornerstones Literary Consultancy Prize 2018 

awarded to the writer of the most promising Bath Novel Award longlisted manuscript

MISHA HUSSAIN for Sakthi (Strength)

(Literary, unpublished)

Prize: the online course Edit Your Novel the Professional Way (RRP £1,800) 

Misha Hussain is a British-Bengali human rights journalist who grew up in East London and later in Preston. Misha’s reportage covers topics such as female genital mutilation, ‘breast ironing’ and forced marriage. Prior to becoming a full time journalist, Misha worked as a consultant in aid and development for Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the United Nations and the World Bank. 

Misha’s novel Sakthi (Strength) is the story of a teenage British Muslim girl who must discover the truth about her mother’s death to escape a similar fate. Set in the industrial north of England, it tackles the complex relationship between Asian Muslim parents and their British-raised children in “an unapologetic commentary on identity, religion and gender issues in the context of Brexit, Islamic radicalisation and the #metoo campaign.”

Read the opening pages of Sakthi (Strength) here


Bath Novel Award 2018 longlisted

Frances Gabrielle CampbellWhere the Road Darkens
Anya CatesDaniel, Asleep
Apala ChowdhuryElephant Road
Abi DareThe Girl with the Louding Voice
Caroline DayA Little Bit Broken
Molly GartlandEverything's Ahead of Her
Jacqueline P HaskellThe Auspice
Mosarrof HussainSakthi (Strength)
Alex IveyThe Glass Hotel
Claire KendallSisters They Never Had
Amy J KirkwoodBlazers
Suzy OldfieldRounding Meg's Corners
Ben OrlandoLost Journals of Sundown
Suzanne ReismanThe Triplets of the Chosen
Victoria RichardsThe Furies
Tasca ShadixI'll Wait There for You
Neema ShahKololo Hill
Amy ShinzakiCake
Pericles SnowdonInkland
Ruby Speechley
Bye Bye Baby
Clive WansbroughMidnight Souls
Clive WansbroughThe Midas Dance
Melissa WelliverThe Eternals
Elizabeth WongWe Could Not See The Stars


Read 2018’s shortlist announcement in full 

Read 2018’s longlist announcement in full