Top writers back Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers’ Award.
• Shena Mackay, Owen Sheers and Kate Summerscale to choose the winner of the inaugural £10,000 DRF award
• Ian McEwan and Peter Carey to celebrate the winner at key events
• Over 850 entries for the award
The board of the Deborah Rogers Foundation, set up last year in memory of the universally loved and respected literary agent, Deborah Rogers, is delighted to announce that it has received over 850 submissions for the inaugural Writers’ Award. In addition, the writers - Shena Mackay, Owen Sheers and Kate Summerscale – who are all clients of Rogers Coleridge & White have agreed to judge the entries while Ian McEwan and Peter Carey will publicly celebrate the winner at key events in May.
In keeping with Deborah’s lifelong objective to seek out and nurture new talent, this £10,000 award is for a first-time writer whose work demonstrates literary talent but who needs financial support to complete their first book. This should be fiction, non-fiction or short stories, but not poetry.
To enter, writers – who must reside within the British Commonwealth and Eire and whose work must be written in the English language – were required to submit 20-30,000 words of literary merit.
The judges will begin their reading in early March, from a longlist compiled by agents within Rogers Coleridge & White. The shortlist will be announced on Thursday 14 April during the London Book Fair.
The winner will be announced on Thursday 5 May (tbc) at an Award Ceremony in London where he/she will receive a cheque for £10,000 from Ian McEwan. The winner will also then appear in conversation with Peter Carey on the opening weekend of the Hay Festival on Saturday 28 May. Both Peter Carey and Ian McEwan were longstanding clients of Deborah’s.
Gill Coleridge comments: “We are delighted to have so many submissions for the inaugural Writers’ Award; this is a wonderful opportunity for the winner and the shortlisted authors. Deborah would have been so pleased that writers RCW supported in her own lifetime - Peter Carey, Ian McEwan, Shena Mackay, Owen Sheers and Kate Summerscale - are now offering to support other new writers. It is very exciting to know we are on the brink of discovering some wonderful new talent”
Shena Mackay enjoyed a long friendship and professional relationship with Deborah Rogers. She was one of her very first authors when Deborah set up her agency in 1967. Shena Mackay was born in Edinburgh in 1944. Her writing career began when she won a prize for a poem written when she was fourteen. Two novellas, Dust Falls on Eugene Schlumberger and Toddler on the Run were published before she was twenty. Redhill Rococo won the 1987 Fawcett Prize, Dunedin won a 1994 Scottish Arts Council Book Award, The Orchard on Fire was shortlisted for the 1996 Booker Prize and, in 2003 Heligoland was shortlisted for both the Orange Prize and Whitbread Novel Award. Her latest book, Dancing on the Outskirts, Selected Stories (Virago) was published in November 2015. She has three daughters, Sarah Clark, a teacher, Rebecca Smith, a writer, and Cecily Brown, a painter, and five grandchildren. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and lives in Southampton.
Owen Sheers is a poet, author and playwright. His first novel, Resistance, was translated into ten languages and adapted into a film. The Dust Diaries, his Zimbabwean non-fiction narrative, won the Welsh Book of the Year. His awards for poetry and drama include the Somerset Maugham Award for Skirrid Hill, The Hay Festival Poetry Medal and the Welsh Book of the Year for Pink Mist and the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award for his play The Two Worlds of Charlie F. He is Professor in Creativity at Swansea University and lives in Wales with his wife and daughter. His second novel, I Saw A Man, was published by Faber & Faber in 2015.
Kate Summerscale is the author of the bestselling The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, which won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and the Galaxy British Book of the Year Award and was adapted as an ITV drama. Her other books are The Queen of Whale Cay, which won a Somerset Maugham award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread biography award, and Mrs Robinson's Disgrace, a Sunday Times bestseller. Her new book, The Wicked Boy, will be published in May 2016. Kate Summerscale has also judged various literary competitions including the Booker Prize. She lives in north London.
Deborah Rogers Foundation:
The board of the Foundation, chaired by Lord Berkeley of Knighton, Deborah’s widower, comprises people who knew and loved Deborah, including RCW colleagues Gill Coleridge and Peter Straus with David Miller as secretary. The Members of the Foundation, which includes writers Ian McEwan and William Fiennes, are:
Lord Berkeley of Knighton CBE
Gill Coleridge, RCW
Peter Straus, RCW
David Miller, RCW (Secretary)
Baroness Rebuck DBE
For media information, please contact:
Rogers Coleridge & White Ltd
+44 0207 221 3717
Four Colman Getty
+44 (0) 20 3697 4240