Last night at the Society of Authors Awards Party in Southwark Cathedral, the Makar Jackie Kay awarded the inaugural Paul Torday Memorial Prize to Anne Youngson, for her debut novel Meet Me at the Museum (Doubleday), which was published when she was 70.
Anne Youngson worked for many years in senior management in the car industry before embarking on a creative career as a writer. She has supported many charities in governance roles, including Chair of the Writers in Prison Network, which provided residencies in prisons for writers. She lives in Oxfordshire and is married with two children and three grandchildren to date. Meet Me at the Museum is her debut novel.
Anita Sethi, Paul Torday Memorial Prize Judge says:
I loved this engrossing story of friendship and family – it fascinates both in the form of its excellent use of the epistolary, and in its content as it explores actual human archaeology and the archaeology of the human heart.
The Runner-Up prize was awarded to Norma MacMaster for her debut Silence Under A Stone (Doubleday Ireland), published when she was 81.
Norma MacMaster was born and reared in County Cavan before continuing her studies in Derry, Dublin, Belfast and Montreal. She was a secondary school teacher and counsellor in Ireland and Canada and was ordained a minister of the Church of Ireland in 2004. A contributor to Sunday Miscellany on RTE Radio 1, she is the author of a memoir, Over My Shoulder. She and her late husband have one daughter. Norma lives by the sea in North County Dublin and wrote Silence Under A Stone ‘a bit now and a bit then’, typing with two fingers in her attic. It is her first novel.
Kate Mosse, Paul Torday Memorial Prize Judge says:
A beautiful, subtle, elegant novel! A story of closed communities, of the schisms of religion, of fear, and faith, of anger and being unable to forgive, this is a beautifully written and very moving story.