Unpublished Hebden Bridge author Tara Guha has been announced as the winner of the 2014 Luke Bitmead Writer’s Bursary, in an award ceremony in Central London.
Tara received a cheque for £2,500 as well as a publishing contract with Legend Press for her debut novel Untouchable Things.
The novel will be published November 2015.
The award is the biggest prize in the UK for unpublished authors.
Two additional prizes were awarded on the night to second and third place writers Catherine Murphy for her novel Bleak Lush and Melanie Garrett for her novel This He Did Without Remorse.
The winners were chosen from a shortlist of 10 authors by a judging panel including award-winning authors Sam Mills and Ruth Dugdall, Luke Bidmead’s Mother Elaine Hanson, and Tom Chalmers, Lucy Chamberlain and Lauren Parsons from Legend Press.
The bursary is funded by the Luke Bitmead Memorial Fund, and was set up by Luke’s family in association with Legend Press in 2006, shortly after Luke’s tragic death at the age of just 34.
Luke’s book White Summer was the first novel to be published by Legend Press and Luke was one of the UK’s most talented up-and-coming writers. Legend Press are delighted to be working with Luke’s family to ensure that Luke’s name and memory lives on.
The bursary, now in its seventh year, was set up to encourage and support the work of struggling talented writers, whose work is yet to be published.
Lauren Parsons, Commissioning Editor of Legend Press, said: “We are delighted to announce Tara Guha as the winner of this year’s Bursary.
“Untouchable Things is captivating, with a plot unlike anything we’ve ever read before, combining elements of suspense and intrigue with a deliciously dark twist. We are very much look forward to working with Tara in the run up to publication next year.”
Luke’s mother, Elaine Hanson commented: “The Luke Bitmead Memorial Fund has been set up for two reasons, firstly to give support to unpublished fledgling writers, particularly those who have striven to work through the disempowering feelings of anxiety and depression. Secondly to eradicate the stigma that prevents mental health problems being discussed openly enabling support and understanding.
“It is brilliant to see this is working as demonstrated by our six Bursary winners who now say they are living their lives with more self-belief,” she said.