Writers' Award 2018

Ian McEwan at the Hay Festival on 27 May 2018 with Deepa Anappara and Sharlene Teo – the winners of the 2016 and 2018 Writers Award.

 

Ian McEwan at the Hay Festival on 27 May 2018 with Deepa Anappara and Sharlene Teo – the winners of the 2016 and 2018 Writers Award.

 

The winner of the 2018 Deborah Rogers Writers Award was Deepa Anappara for Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, a work of fiction. This was announced on  Wednesday 16th May at a small ceremony in London. Anne Enright (Chair of the Judges) introduced the shortlisted authors and then announced the winner who was presented with the prize of £10,000.

The runners-up were:  Dima Alzayat for Daughters of Manat & Other Stories and Chris Connolly for The Speed of Light and How it Cannot Help Us. Both titles were collections of stories. The authors were each presented with a cheque for £1000.

Anne Enright, Peter Hobbs and Jenny Uglow, the judges of the 2018 DRF Award, made their shortlist selection from a longlist of eight. This longlist was chosen by agents within Rogers Coleridge & White, after reading a staggering 752 entries

The winner, Deepa Anappara is currently doing a PhD in Creative-Critical Writing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. She has a Masters in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction) from UEA and previously worked as a journalist and editor in India. Her short fiction has won: the Dastaan Award, the Asian Writer Short Story Prize, the second prize in the Bristol Short Story awards and the third prize in the Asham awards. Her reports on education and human rights, published in newspapers and magazines in India, have won the Developing Asia Journalism awards, Every Human has Rights Media awards, and the Prabha Dutt Fellowship in Journalism. Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line won the Bridport/Peggy Chapman-Andrews Awards for a First Novel in 2017.

 

Anne Enright, Chair of the Judges, commented :-

“The long list contained 8 original, formed voices, ready, or nearly ready, to take their place in the world. The variety was heartening, as was the urgency and precision these new writers brought to the page. Those on the shortlist were at the point in their writing lives when originality is met by craft: you can feel, as you read, the wind catching their sails. Dima Alzayat and Chris Connolly are on the cusp of terrific work, each has a distinctive take on the world, and a sense of place in their chosen literary traditions, producing work that is sometimes funny and always new.

The winner was unanimously chosen by the judges.

We care about these characters from the first page and our concern for them is richly repaid.  This is story telling at its best – not just sympathetic, vivid, and beautifully detailed, but also completely assured and deft. Set in the slumlands of a sprawling Indian city, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is a modern tale that works an ancient seam of the story-telling tradition.  Not many writers can make it look this easy.  What a privilege to be one of Deepa Anappara’s early readers. There are many more to come.”

 

Gill Coleridge, Chair of Rogers Coleridge & White and Director of the Deborah Rogers Foundation, commented:

“We have once again been very excited to discover three extraordinary new voices representing the best of the diversity in contemporary new writing and feel privileged to read their work at the beginning of their careers.   The great success of the first winners of the 2016 DRF Writers Award has already brought distinction and renown to the Foundation and we are confident that the talented winners here tonight will enhance and continue that trajectory.  

The winner, Deepa Anappara, appeared on Sunday 27th May at the Hay Festival where she was joined by Ian McEwan on stage for the Deborah Rogers Foundation Conversation following his interview with Stig Abell, Editor of the TLS.

 

The 2018 shortlisted authors:

 

Dima Alzayat - Daughters of Manat & Other Stories 

Dima Alzayat was born in Damascus, Syria, grew up in San Jose, California, and now lives in Manchester. Her stories have appeared in the Bristol Short Story Award Anthology, Prairie Schooner, Bridport Prize Anthology, and Enizagam. She was the winner of the 2017 Bristol Short Story Prize, the 2015 Bernice Slote Award, and a 2013 Highly Commended Bridport Prize. Her short story In the Land of Kan’an was included in artist Jenny Holzer’s projection For Aarhus and was part of Holzer’s 2017 exhibition at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. She is a PhD student and associate lecturer at Lancaster University.

 

Deepa Anappara - Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line

Deepa Anappara is currently doing a PhD in Creative-Critical Writing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. She has a Masters in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction) from UEA and previously worked as a journalist and editor in India. Her short fiction has won: the Dastaan Award, the Asian Writer Short Story Prize, the second prize in the Bristol Short Story awards and the third prize in the Asham awards. Her reports on education and human rights, published in newspapers and magazines in India, have won the Developing Asia Journalism awards, Every Human has Rights Media awards, and the Prabha Dutt Fellowship in Journalism. Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line won the Bridport/Peggy Chapman-Andrews Awards for a First Novel in 2017.

 

Chris Connolly - The Speed of Light and How it Cannot Help Us

Chris Connolly's fiction and poetry has appeared in the Irish Times, the Irish Independent, Southword, the Galway Review and the Hennessy Book of Irish Fiction, among others, and has been broadcast on RTÉ Radio. His work has won numerous awards, including Best Emerging Fiction at the 2016 Hennessy Literary Awards, the RTÉ Francis McManus competition, the Over the Edge: New Writer of the Year award and the Lascaux Review Fiction Prize. He was also highly commended in the Manchester Fiction Prize. He holds an MA in Creative Writing from UCD.

 

The shortlisted writers were chosen from a longlist of eight:

  1. Julia Armfield – salt slow
  2. Dima Alzayat – Daughters of Manet & Other Stories
  3. Deepa Anappara – Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line
  4. Chris Connolly – The Speed of Light and How it Cannot Help Us
  5. Kearney Byrne – The Dreamish
  6. Rebecca Langton – Featherweight
  7. Tess Little – When we Called the Police to Collect My Ex-husband’s Body
  8. Francine Toon – Pine

The Judges

Anne Enright was born in Dublin, where she now lives and works. She has published two collections of short stories, published collectively as Yesterday’s Weather; one book of nonfiction, Making Babies; and six novels, including The Forgotten Waltz, which was awarded the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, The Green Road which was shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2016, the 2015 Costa Novel Award, longlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize, won the Irish Book Awards Book Club Novel of the Year 2015 as well as the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award 2016, and The Gathering, which was the Irish Novel of the Year, and won the Irish Fiction Award and the 2007 Man Booker Prize. She was the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction.

Peter Hobbs is the author of two novels, The Short Day Dying and In the Orchard, the Swallows, as well as a collection of short stories, I Could Ride All Day in My Cool Blue Train. He is also the coeditor of Sex & Death, an anthology of new short stories. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a writer-in-residence for the schools literacy charity, First Story.

Jenny Uglow OBE is a former Editorial director of Chatto & Windus, and Chair of the Council of the Royal Society of Literature. Her own books include prize-winning biographies of Elizabeth Gaskell, William Hogarth, Thomas Bewick, and the Victorian architect Sarah Losh, as well as the acclaimed group studies, The Lunar Men: The Friends Who Made the Future, and In These Times: Living in Britain through Napoleon’s Wars, 1793–1815. Her latest book Mr Lear: A Life of Art and Nonsense is a biography of Edward Lear. She lives in Canterbury.

The Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award

£10,000 will be presented to a first-time writer whose submission demonstrates outstanding literary talent and who needs financial support to complete their work:

  • Submissions should take the form of 20-30,000 words of a work in progress, fiction or non-fiction, which is not under option or contract.
  • Applicants may not be under contract to any publisher for any work or title.
  • Applications are only open to writers who have not previously published a full-length book of their own prose writing (including self-published or published on-line) excluding a collection of their own poetry. They may have published short prose writing within a magazine/anthology.
  • Entrants must write in the English language and reside within the British Commonwealth and Eire.
  • Submissions should be accompanied with a brief synopsis and biographical note.
  • Applicants who submitted work for a previous Writers Award may re-apply but the work submitted must be new.

 

The next Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award will be made in 2020.

The 2016 Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award

Sharlene Teo was announced as the winner of the inaugural 2016 Deborah Rogers Writers Award in May 2016 for Ponti, a novel-in-progress. Since winning the award, Ponti has been sold to publishers around the world and was published by Picador UK in May 2018 and will be published by Simon & Schuster Inc. in the US in September 2018.

The two runners-up were:  

Imogen Hermes Gowar with her historical novel The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock which was sold to Harvill Secker and published in February 2018.
Guy Stagg for his part travel, part memoir, The Crossway.  This was later sold to Picador UK and was published in May 2018.