This Year's Shortlist

The Paul Torday Memorial Prize (2021) official shortlist:

 

Judged by Paul Bailey, Roopa Farooki and Anne Youngson

  • All  the Water in the World by Karen Raney (John Murray, Two Roads)
  • Dirt Clean by Judith Amanthis (Victorina Press)
  • In Love with George Eliot by Kathy O’Shaughnessy (Scribe UK)
  • Let Sleeping Dogs Lie by Elfan Jones (Unbound)
  • The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood (Quercus)

Anne Youngson, Paul Torday Memorial Prize judge and inaugural winner of the Prize in 2019, says:

The five shortlisted novels demonstrated ambition, and significant literary skill in the way the writers realised that ambition. There were no commonalities of theme, and though two were in the crime fiction genre, they interpreted that genre in different ways. It was refreshing, but perhaps not surprising, to find that novelists coming to the form later in life understand what it is they want to achieve. None of these novels could be accused of following a trend or aiming for a particular niche. There is a confidence in the purpose and execution of all five books.


The 2020 Prize winner: Donald S. Murray

PAUL TORDAY MEMORIAL PRIZE WINNER 2020: DONALD S MURRAY FOR AS THE WOMEN LAY DREAMING (SARABAND) AWARDED £1,000

A son of the Hebrides, Donald S. Murray is a writer and poet whose work has been shortlisted for both the Saltire Literary Awards and the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award. His critically acclaimed books bring to life the culture and nature of the Scottish islands, and he appears regularly on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland. As the Women Lay Dreaming is his first novel. BORN AND RAISED IN NESS IN THE ISLE OF LEWIS, DONALD NOW LIVES IN SHETLAND.

Sarah Waters, Paul Torday Memorial Prize judge, says: ‘Just a few pages into As the Women Lay Dreaming, I knew I had found our winner. Murray’s novel is the slimmest book on the shortlist, but it’s a book that’s big with beauty, poetry and heart. A wonderful achievement, a brilliant blend of fact and fiction, full of memorable images and singing lines of prose.’

PAUL TORDAY MEMORIAL PRIZE 2020 RUNNER-UP: GABBY KOPPEL FOR REPARATION (HONNO PRESS)

Gaby Koppel is a freelance TV Producer and journalist with credits that include Crimewatch UK, ‘The Experiment’, ‘Holocaust Memorial Day’, ‘Child of Our Time – The Children’s Stories’ and ‘Rip-Off Britain’. She also writes regularly for national newspapers and magazines including the Guardian, the Daily Mail and the Jewish Chronicle. In 2008 she left the BBC for a master’s degree in Creative Writing at City University, to fulfil a long-held ambition of writing fiction. She won the Christopher Little Literary Agency Award, 2010 and was longlisted for the Bath Novel award 2016. Gaby was born in Cardiff of Hungarian and German heritage. Currently dividing her time between London and MediaCityUK in Salford, she is one half of BergholtBrown (film and TV production company) with her husband, film director, Stephen Brown. GABY GREW UP IN CARDIFF AND IS NOW BASED IN LONDON.

Catherine Johnson, Paul Torday Memorial Prize judge, says: ‘I thought this was an engrossing and satisfying read. I discovered worlds and people I had never met and I was swept along by a narrative that explored identity and families and how they live long term with deep trauma. Koppel has written a story that deserves to a wider audience.’

 

Read an extract

How to enter

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The prize is currently closed for submissions.