Writing the future for Scottish novelists

Published: 9 February 2012

The shortlist for this year’s Sceptre Prize for emerging writers on the University of Glasgow Creative Writing course has been announced.

The shortlist for this year’s Sceptre Prize for emerging writers has been announced.

Three students, Miles Beard, Philip Murnin, and Maggie Ritchie from the University of Glasgow’s Edwin Morgan Centre for Creative Writing have been shortlisted from nine longlisted writers for the £1500 prize.

The annual Sceptre Prize, now in its fifth year is jointly run by the University of Glasgow and Sceptre (an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton) to encourage new Scottish novelists. All students from the University of Glasgow’s acclaimed Edwin Morgan Centre for Creative Writing who achieve Distinctions in their final projects are eligible. They must submit between 5,000 and 10,000 words of a novel or a novel in progress.

Miles Beard’s The Lazy King is set across the timeframe of a single play and tells the story of a college dropout who wants to make it in theatre. Phoenixland by Philip Murnin is a dark and comic novel about drug addiction told through the perspective of a child.  And in Dreams in Stone by Maggie Ritchie, an English sculptor recounts her intense and passionate friendship with a fellow artist and the choices they are both forced to make.  

Zoe Strachan, Creative Writing Course Tutor said:

“The Sceptre Prize offers a wonderful opportunity for talented new fiction writers from the University of Glasgow's Creative Writing Programme to gain recognition from a major literary and commercial publisher. Each year the shortlist showcases the quality and range of work produced on the course. The Prize supports and encourages writers at the beginning of their careers and we hope that some of those selected will go on to achieve the acclaim of Sceptre's established literary stars!”

Carole Welch, Publishing Director for Sceptre said:

“In this, the fifth year of the Sceptre Prize, it is good to see another strong selection of writing by students from the University of Glasgow's Creative Writing course, which continues to set a high standard. As it happens, the prize has so far alternated between male and female writers - we shall discover whether that pattern is repeated this year on 17th March!”

Bob McDevitt, Chair of the Sceptre Prize, said:

"Once again the entries for the Sceptre Prize demonstrate a range of diverse and distinct voices. This year the novels tell the stories of a failed actor, a group of dysfunctional teenagers in a high rise estate and a scandalous affair involving Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel. The judges will have their work cut out to select a winner from this shortlist" 

Laura Jane Smith , Director of Aye Write! Glasgow’s Book Festival commented:

"As Director of Aye Write! I am delighted the winner of the Sceptre Prize is being announced at the festival again this year.  It is an important part of the festival to promote the work of new authors as well as the more established local and international writers. I look forward to hearing the results!"

The winner will be announced and the prize awarded on Saturday 17th March at the Aye Write! literary festival in Glasgow.

Notes to editors

For a copy of the shortlisted submissions or for more information please contact Martin Nicholas Wade in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 7126 or nick.wade@glasgow.ac.uk

For Sceptre publicity enquiries please contact Lyndsey Ng on 020 7873 6438 or lyndsey.ng@hodder.co.uk   

For enquiries about the Aye Write! Festival please contact Karen Cunningham on 0141 287 5114 or karen.cunningham@glasgowlife.org.uk; or Gordon Boag on 0141 287 6418 or gordon.boag@glasgowlife.org.uk

Founded in 1995, the University of Glasgow’s Creative Writing Masters Course has proved one of the most successful of its kind in the UK and one which has nurtured a wide range of talent including Rachel Seiffert, Louise Welsh, Zoë Strachan, Laura Marney and Anne Donovan.

Sceptre was founded as Hodder & Stoughton’s literary imprint in 1986, and publishes both fiction and non-fiction. Dedicated to publishing new talent alongside long-established writers, Sceptre has launched the careers of novelists such as David Mitchell, Andrew Miller, Siri Hustvedt, Jill Dawson and Jake Arnott.

First published: 9 February 2012