Mark Lawson, Kate Mosse and Anita Sethi have been confirmed as the judging panel for the first year of the Paul Torday Memorial Prize for debut novelists over 60, announced by the Society of Authors today.
The prize was announced in 2018 by Piers and Nick Torday, sons of novelist Paul Torday (1946-2013) with a message for both to the publishing industry and the public that ‘it truly is never too late to follow your dream’ and to show that ‘writing could be a wonderful second career for many more with a life of well-lived experience to call upon’.
Torday’s own successful writing career only began when he entered semi-retirement and in 2006 published his first best-selling novel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, at the age of 60.
In a statement on the line-up of judges, Piers Torday said:
We could not think of a better way to remember our father and his literary legacy than with a prize that honours those who, like him, come to writing later in life.
We are both so thrilled that this highly experienced trio of judges, with such a broad range of critical sensibilities and views between them, are now on board to choose an award winning senior debut, and launch the winner on a whole new career at an age when many others are finishing theirs.
Award-winning writer, journalist and broadcaster Anita Sethi said:
I’m delighted to a be a Judge of this important and much-needed prize in its inaugural year, through which we can celebrate that it’s never too late to follow your passion and fulfil your talent – and that sometimes the finest flowers are the latest to bloom.
International best-selling author Kate Mosse said:
I’m delighted to be part of this celebration of older voices. Storytelling is about the wisdom of years as well as the power of imagination, of character, and I’m hugely looking forward to discovering new voices.
The winner will receive £1,000 plus a set of Paul Torday’s collected works. Runners-up will receive one specially-selected Paul Torday novel with a commemorative book plate.
The inaugural Paul Torday Memorial Prize will be awarded at the 2019 Society of Authors’ Awards ceremony at Southwark Cathedral in June.