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25 Feb 2000

Dundee Book Prize launches search for new star

One of Scotland's most promising new writers catapulted to fame by the country's largest book award today (Thursday, February 24, 2000) told budding authors across the world "It could happen to you!"

Toasting the launch of Tumulus, the winning entry of the inaugural Dundee Book Prize - a joint initiative between the City of Discovery Campaign and the University of Dundee - Andrew Murray Scott said lifting the prestigious literary award last April had changed his life.

"This is the kind of thing all writers dream about," said the 45-year-old part-time lecturer at a launch reception in the city's Bonar Hall.

"One day I'm poring over a computer doubting my every word and thought and the next I've won ?6000 and a publishing deal. Writers can be a very self-conscious bunch but I'm living proof that this could happen to anyone."

The launch proved a double celebration with Dundee Book Prize organisers announcing a fresh search for a new literary star.

Changing tack from the original Prize, the new award is looking for a book set not in the City of Discovery but on the theme 'discovery.'

Mervyn Rolfe, chairman of the City of Discovery Campaign, said the Prize is just one facet to Dundee's growing reputation as Scotland's new hotspot of arts and culture.

Mervyn Rolfe said: "Dundee is establishing itself as a major force in the UK arts circuit thanks to the high calibre of work at places such as Dundee Rep, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Duncan of Jordanstone College and Dundee College. Dundee Book Prize is the ideal medium to stimulate writing about Dundee - direct and indirect."

Although the volume of entries surpassed the organisers' expectations, it was the high-quality of the manuscripts that convinced the City of Discovery Campaign and the University of Dundee that DBP was a magnet for a myriad fresh, talented writers.

Carol Pope, press officer with the University of Dundee, said: "Dundee is already the source of inspiration for a good number of established and well-respected writers and poets including Kate Atkinson, Douglas Dunn, A.L.Kennedy, John Burnside, W.N. Herbert, Kathleen Jamie and Don Paterson.

"I don't think it is too premature to suggest that in future Andrew Murray Scott's name may be spoken in the same breath as those men and women he has regarded as his mentors."

Actors from Dundee Rep took a leaf out of Tumulus by donning psychedelic 70s gear and performing dramatic excerpts from the book.

Tumulus was just one of the 82 entries received from as far afield as South Africa, following the launch of Dundee Book Prize in December 1996.

Described by the judging panel - including poet and dramatist Liz Lochhead - as a "tour de force," Tumulus details bohemian Dundee through the 60s and 70s to the present day blending fact, myth, pub tales and autobiographical account. It contains much that is actual, including hundreds of Dundonians from many epochs?alive, dead, famous, notorious and imagined.

Judges for the new Dundee Book Prize are; Don Paterson, award-winning poet and jazz musician; Kasia Boddy, a specialist in contemporary Scottish and American writing at the University of Dundee and Marion Sinclair, a fiction consultant for Polygon and an original member of the first judging panel.

As before, DBP offers the £6000 to the winning entrant and the chance of publication by Polygon.

For more information on how to enter Dundee Book Prize contact Petra Kydd at the City of Discovery Campaign on 01382 562897 or Carol Pope at the University of Dundee on 01382 344021.

The Dundee City of Discovery Campaign is the promotional arm of the Dundee Partnership. The Campaign is funded by Dundee City Council and Scottish Enterprise Tayside, with support from European funding.

Issued by the City of Discovery Campaign
For more information, contact
Petra Kydd on 01382 562897 or 07879 656398

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