Some News

Last month I coyly hinted that I had some bookish news to announce soon. I’ve now had the go-ahead to reveal that I am one of the judges for the 2022 McKitterick Prize. This is administered by the Society of Authors (the UK trade union for writers), which awards various grants and prizes. The McKitterick Prize has, since 1990, been awarded to a debut novelist aged 40 or over. It’s unique in that it considers unpublished manuscripts as well as published novels – Tom McKitterick, who endowed the Prize, was a former editor of Political Quarterly and had an unpublished novel at the time of his death.

My particular role in the process will be helping to assess the unpublished manuscripts and whittling them down to a longlist by late January. My fellow judges are four writers, two of whom are former winners of the Prize, so I am honoured to be in their company. I have Susan of A life in books to thank for putting me forward via her acquaintance with one of the other judges. There will be a more formal announcement of the judges coming in February. The Prize shortlist will then be announced in the spring, with the winner and runner-up named at the SoA Awards in June.

It’s long been one of my ambitions to be an official prize judge. I happen to have read a number of the past McKitterick Prize winners (the full list is here), and especially loved Golden Child by Claire Adam and Crow Lake by Mary Lawson. See any titles you recognize?

55 responses

  1. Delighted to have helped this along a little, Rebecca. Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re the best! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How exciting! Congratulations! I really liked Djinn Patrol and Fleishmann is in Trouble.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m going to have to give Djinn Patrol another try. I spy a backlist reading project connected with this prize!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So exciting, and what a challenge! Well done. I have to go back to 2003/4 to find titles I’ve read, though I’ve heard of rather more than that. Looking forward to insights into the long-listing process.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My confidentiality agreement means I can’t say much about the process or my results, but I’ll be delighted to share out the shortlist when the time comes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I guessed you couldn’t say much – certainly not now. But there may be nuggets you’ll be allowed to disclose.

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  4. Congratulations! I’ve never actually heard of this award but I can see I have read a few past winners including Gabriel Weston’s Dirty Work and Alison Moore’s The Lighthouse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a fairly low-profile and -value one (and even just the SoA runs lots of different prizes), so I’m not surprised. There are 3-4 of these prizes now that single out ‘older’ authors rather than the new young stars — it’s good to have that balance. I read the Moore when it first came out and would be keen to find the Weston as I loved her memoir.

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      1. Alas, no, I am unable to attend now, but will be dipping and out of the online feed (which doesn’t allow direct comment though). But I hope to see you some other way in person before too long. I am immensely impressed with you very well written and interesting blog – and with your commitment to reading a serious amount of books!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The Weston is very confronting. It’s a book that’s really stuck in my mind.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. To Jonathan: ah, sorry to hear that. We’ll have to catch up with you another time. I hope the live streaming goes well. There’s so much interesting stuff on the programme this year.

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    1. Thank you, Jonathan! Hope to catch up with you next weekend.

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  5. I’ve read two: The Death of Vishnu – Manil Suri and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon , both of which I enjoyed.

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    1. I enjoyed the Haddon as well. The Suri is a new one on me.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats! They are lucky to have you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations! You’ll be a superb judge.

    I’ve read a few: Loved the Gabriel Weston and Magnus MIlls, and Death of Vishnu was pretty good too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So exciting! You’re going to be great, and I hope it leads to more! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Yes, I hope it can be a stepping stone.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙂 I hope to discover some unpublished gems!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Congratulations – this seems like a great fit for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m delighted to have the opportunity.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Congratulations! Very exciting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The news came in right around my birthday, too, so it was all around a lovely surprise 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Congratulations! It sounds like an interesting aspect of the prize to be involved in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It will be a unique challenge! But also fun, I hope.

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  12. Congratulations! How exciting! I’ve glanced through the list and the only one I’ve read is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. I thought it was such a good book! I read it in a day…couldn’t put it down. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It’s been ages since I read that. I should reread it sometime.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. This is SO cool! Congratulations and I’m sure you’ll be great. (Who knows but maybe one day, I’ll be a nominee… if I ever finish writing my novel!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Ooh, intriguing! I know a number of bloggers who have a novel in progress in a drawer somewhere.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, well… now that I’m retired, I’m taking this much more seriously. Joined an online writing group AND (sort of) joined NaNoWriMo. Plus, I’m hoping to go on a writers’ retreat in Ireland in July!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Congratulations, and how exciting! I’ve read and enjoyed a few of the list. Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Congrats! This is a secret dream of mine too, to be a prize juror. But unlike me, you have worked for and deserve this 😉 I hope you get to read some gems.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Laura! You never know what life will bring. I’d contacted a few prize administrators earlier in the year proffering myself as a judge but nothing came of those queries. Instead, this opportunity came up out of the blue.

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  16. Amazing Rebecca, congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cathy! I’m excited to get stuck in, but I know there will be times when it might start to feel onerous.

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  17. Many congratulations! Not come across the prize so will have to do some investigation

    Liked by 1 person

  18. […] he voices just the jaded but hopeful attitude I have towards books, especially as I undertake my own project of assessing unpublished […]

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  19. I’m late catching up with the news but this sounds a wonderful that will certainly play to your strengths

    Liked by 1 person

  20. This is just fabulous news — how lucky the book world is to have you as a judge!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How lovely to see your name pop up here, Carolyn. Thanks for sharing in my good news. I’m delighted about your book deal!

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  21. Congratulations!!! This sounds like a great experience. I always admire how involved you are in bookish events. It seems like you’ve put in the work and have the expertise to get an opportunity like this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Katie! I was really honored to be approached for this.

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  22. Wonderful news–you must be just tickled! Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a lovely bolt from the blue, after thinking all my queries were in vain.

      Like

  23. […] was extra stressful for me because of trying to buy a house, starting my McKitterick Prize judging, and my mother being in and out of hospital since September. I know I’m not the only one feeling […]

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