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26 February 2010

Dundee International Book Prize reveals top 10 shortlist

Ten aspiring novelists have been shortlisted for the sixth Dundee International Book Prize, after more than a hundred entries were received from around the globe.

Judges from the Scottish Book Trust turned the pages of a total of 110 novels to whittle the list down to ten candidates all bidding for the chance of winning the £10,000 prize, which is the highest in the UK for an unpublished writer.

Among the top ten are writers from Newport in Wales, Colinsburgh in Fife, South Miami in Florida and Cape Town, South Africa.

Extracts of the top ten have been published online at as part of the Prize, an annual collaboration between the University of Dundee, Polygon and Dundee City Council's 'One City, Many Discoveries' campaign, which is this year sponsored by Apex Hotels, Dundee.

The top ten will now be whittled down to a final three books and the eventual winner will be picked by judges David Robinson and Cynthia Rogerson.

David Robinson is the Books Editor of the Scotsman newspaper and an author - his book 'In Cold Ink" was published by Birlinn in 2009. He has interviewed many of the greatest writers alive, champions literature and supporting new voices, wherever they are from in the world. Born in Bradford, he has been a newspaper journalist all his working life. He lives with his wife and two children in Edinburgh.

David says: "This is a fantastic prize which richly rewards new writers. It is so difficult for debut authors to get noticed so this is a great opportunity."

Cynthia Rogerson is a Californian living in Ross-shire. Her first novel, Upstairs in the Tent, was published in 2001; her short stories and poems have been short-listed for competitions, anthologised, published in literary magazines and broadcast on BBC radio. In 2008 she won the VS Pritchett short story award. She is the co-director of Moniack Mhor, an Arvon Writing Centre in Inverness-shire. Her second novel, Love Letters from my Deathbed, was published in 2007, and her next novel I Love You Goodbye, will be published in July.

Cynthia says: "I'm very excited to be a judge on the Dundee International Book Prize. It's very good news indeed that new writers are given this chance in what is a crazy, impossibly difficult phase of publishing."

The winner will be announced at a dinner on Friday 24th June in front of an audience of industry experts, shortlisted writers and sponsors of the prize. They will also speak at the Dundee Literary Festival no Saturday 25th June.

Anna Day, University of Dundee and Director of the Dundee Literary Festival, comments: "The shortlist reflects a wide variety of styles of writing from debut authors across the world - we received entries from the USA, Spain, Germany, Italy and South Africa. There are some fantastic stories in the top ten, and it's going to be tricky to choose a winner but as always we're looking for a creative new voice who demonstrated innovation and the ability to create a real page-turner."

Councillor Will Dawson, Convenor of City Development for Dundee City Council, adds: "The Book Prize is a fantastic way of discovering new writing talent, and it's inspiring to see so many entries come in from would-be authors around the world. Dundee is committed to supporting innovation and the city is a hub of creativity - whether that's in the arts, digital gaming or music. The Book Prize shows that we're serious about recognising and celebrating that talent!"

Last year, local crime writer Chris Longmuir secured a publishing deal and the £10,000 prize for her fiction novel Dead Wood which is set in Dundee and uncovers the terrifying truth behind a serial killer who seems to take his fatal inspiration from the Templeton Woods murders of 1980.

Notes to editors:

  • The Dundee International Book Prize is in its sixth year and is an annual award.
  • The extracts of the shortlisted stories can be read on: or
  • The full list of the top ten shortlisted entries is as follows:
    • Jane Hicks from Newport, Wales - 'Modall'
    • Rachel Elliott from Bath, England - 'I Saw It And Then It Moved'
    • Peter Marshall from Colinsburgh, Fife - 'The Children of Kali'
    • Dr Judith Elizabeth Hampson from Forres, Inverness - 'Two Boys And A Dog'
    • Zoe Venditozzi from Newport, Fife - 'Anywhere But Here'
    • Alan Wright from Wigan, England - 'Act of Murder'
    • Lisa Ballantyne from Scotland - 'More Than Kin'
    • Alan Clinton from South Miami, Florida - 'Necropsy in E Minor'
    • Jade Gibson from Cape Town, South Africa - 'The Glow-Fly Dance'
    • Rebecca Lloyd from Bristol, England - 'Under The Exquisite Gaze'

For more information, interviews or images please contact:
Jackie Shuttleworth or Emily Moyes
Stripe Communications
0131 561 8628

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Grant Hill
Press Officer
University of Dundee
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