HWA / Sharpe Books Unpublished Novel Award
We were delighted at the number of excellent manuscripts we received, though the high quality of the entries made the selection of a longlist extremely challenging!
If the longlist were to include every manuscript we read which is both publishable and deserving of a wide readership, it would be twice as long.
The manuscripts which reached the longlist were the ones which are not just brilliantly written, but are brilliantly structured too. They also have in their subject matter, style or setting something fresh and vital about them.
So, without further ado, the longlisted books are:
Richard Bryson – Five Dark Moons
November 1943, the eve of the ill-fated Battle of Berlin. To escape Hell, reluctant Lancaster pilot Bob Smith must stand centre-stage amid the clash of duty and disillusion, sacrifice and survival.
Maggie Humm – Talland House
Talland House follows the artist character Lily Briscoe from Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse between 1900 and 1919. It is set at a dramatic moment in British history but is also one woman’s intense emotional journey.
Paula Lennon – The Adventures of Isaiah Ollenu Esquire
1772: ISAIAH OLLENU is an Englishman of African ancestry and a forthright law clerk. His career takes an unwelcome diversion when he is sent to Jamaica accompanied by RUBEN ASHBY, a pious insurance agent to find missing, possibly murdered, clients and their jewels.
Tim Oliver – Across The Line
May 1940: Following a baptism of fire on the frontline, Lieutenant Arthur Scottsdale is summoned to Section D, part of the Secret Intelligence Service and agrees to the task of rescuing two French scientists trapped behind enemy lines with details of top-secret radar technology.
Anna Pietrzkiewicz – Behold the Man
1899: Sent away from Krakow after a scandal, LIDKA FELDMANN, a half-Polish, half-Jewish student, arrives in a remote village. Instead of finding a rural idyll, she gets drawn into mysterious and dangerous events joining forces with a priest to solve a murder.
Baptiste Pinson – Sword Maidens
7th century Scandinavia: Mist, the shy thrall of a Dane jarl must prove she is worth more alive than dead to the Sword-Maidens, a crew of women and men led by the charismatic Kara Halfdansdottir.
Felicity J Reid – Guinevere
5th century: In the modern day Gwen returns to scatter her father’s ashes on Glastonbury Tor, and finds a gold ring lying in the church tower on its summit. Picking up the ring, she’s transported back to the fifth century and finds Merlin who is convinced it is her destiny to become the Queen Guinevere of legend.
HJ Reynolds – Hushed Peacocks
1653: The exiled, orphaned and destitute LADY LAURETTE MILES is recruited by Royalist spymaster and plunged into a life of fear and intrigue as an undercover operative.
Maggie Richell Davies – The Servant
1765: Fourteen-year-old HANNAH must go where she’s sent, despite her instincts screaming danger. Why does disgraced aristocrat, WILLIAM CHALKE, have a locked room in his house? What’s sold at the auctions taking place behind closed doors?
Mandy Rymill – Uxorious
1874: When vicar EDMUND WILBRAHAM is found dead, AGNES, his sister, accuses his new wife CAROLINE of murdering him. Is Agnes telling the truth? UXORIOUS moves between Caroline’s trial for her husband’s murder and the events leading up to his death.
Peter Sandham – Porphyry and Ash
1452: JOHN GRANT is a Scottish mercenary, newly arrived in Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine empire, which is under threat from the Ottoman Turks. ANNA NOTARAS is the teenage daughter of Constantinople’s richest man. Previously betrothed to EMPEROR CONSTANTINE, she nurses a grudge against him for breaking the engagement off and an ambition to still be empress one day.
Susan Stokes-Chapman – Infelice
August 1820: SARAH WALKER returns to the family home and finds that in her absence a new lodger has moved in. WILLIAM HAZLITT shows a marked interest in her and Sarah, having been starved of affection for so long unwittingly encourages his attentions, for he is like no man she has ever met: sharply intelligent, passionate in his beliefs and, above all, a writer who might teach her something of the world.
The final results will be announced in the second week of March.
Huge congratulations to all the longlisted writers.