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05 May 2021

Announcing the Discoveries Prize longlist

by Discoveries Discoveries, Events

We’re delighted to share the inaugural Discoveries Prize longlist. This list features 16 works-in-progress from unpublished women writers currently residing in the UK and Ireland.

These 16 titles have been selected by the Chair of judges Kate Mosse and her judging panel: bestselling author Abi Daré, literary agent Lucy Morris, Curtis Brown Creative’s founder and Managing Director Anna Davis, and Director for Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature Sandeep Mahal.

Chair of judges Kate Mosse says: ‘My fellow judges and I were blown away by the quality, the breadth, the imagination and the ambition of the submissions to Discoveries. It was a tough job to get the 2,300+ entries down to just sixteen, but we’re confident this longlist is a showcase for some of the freshest new voices in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Women in their 20s to their 50s, coming from a wide diversity of backgrounds and experiences, writing from new perspectives and in every genre, there’s no doubt the future of fiction is in safe hands. We can’t wait to see where all of these emerging writers go from here, with support from the writing courses and mentoring. Congratulations to you all.’

Rue Baldry, Dwell

Rue Baldry lives in York, has five grownup children and a Creative Writing MA from Leeds. She has been a The Bridge Awards Emerging Writer and a Jerwood/Arvon mentee. Twenty-three of her short stories have been published in journals including Ambit, Mslexia, Fairlight Shorts, Litro, The Honest Ulsterman, MIR Online, Postbox, The First Line, Crossways, and The Incubator.


Rukky Brume, Somebody Tell the Weather

Rukky Brume grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. She studied Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and works in the City. Rukky is an alumna of the Faber Academy’s ‘Writing a Novel’ course. She lives in London.


Anna Dempsey, This is About Alligators and Nothing Else

Anna Dempsey is an American born writer and teacher based in London. She won the 2019 Costa Short Story Award and is currently pursuing a PhD in creative writing at Bath Spa University.


Lorna Elcock, Under the Light, Yet Under

Lorna Elcock’s first novel Under the Light, Yet Under is the opening instalment in a literary trilogy set in Scotland. Her short fiction has appeared in Ambit, and has been listed in the Top 60 entries to the BBC National Short Story Award. She has an MA in Creative & Life Writing from Goldsmiths, University of London.


Olivia Ford, Mrs Quinn’s Rise to Fame

Olivia Ford is currently writing her first novel inspired by three of her greatest loves; her grandparents, baking and entertainment TV. Raised in Lincolnshire, she graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and currently works as a TV Producer. She recently moved to East Dulwich with her boyfriend James and their cat, Colin.


Chloë Fowler, King

Chloë Fowler started creative writing three years ago to fulfil a promise to herself that if she turned forty and still hadn’t written a word, she’d better shut up about it. She’s a qualitative market researcher by trade – essentially, paid to be nosy. She lives in London with her wife, Doris the dog and, Daphne the cat.


Riley Johnston, A Holy Show

Riley Johnston lives in Belfast and is a full-time secondary school teacher. She has been writing for five years. Riley also plays trumpet and is a member of Belfast Jazz Orchestra and plays camogie for Mary Ann McCracken GAC.


Lucy Keefe, Pantheon

Lucy Keefe writes urban fantasy characters who sound like the women she knows, and eat like the woman she is, living vicariously through her characters’ stomachs. Raised in Dorset, Lucy made it through five years in London, before settling in Kent with her cat, Detective Inspector Fred Thursday. Her influences are John Wick, Jill Mansell, Mario Puzo and Taylor Swift.


Alys Key, Serum

Alys Key is a journalist and writer. She was the 2019 winner of the Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize, and she has forthcoming short stories in Dear Damsels, Weird Horror, and Popshot Quarterly. She works for the i newspaper on the money and business desk. Originally from Winchester, she now lives in East London.


Elizabeth Kuligowski, Red on the Inside

Elizabeth Kuligowski writes feminist horror and dark YA novels. She has a degree in Classical Studies from King’s College London, from which she learned that the gods are terrible people. She is a vegetarian, a connoisseur of mid-2000s punk rock music, and a collector of weird superstitions. Elizabeth lives in Essex with her husband and two daughters.


Sophia Magbagbeola, Dolly from Ikoyi

Sophia is from Birmingham UK, adopted by Nigeria and is currently living in Oxfordshire. She has been a zookeeper, care worker, yoga teacher, occasional surfer and is currently working in mental health. She is also now a mother. Dolly from Ikoyi was written between night feeds and naps, and was inspired by hearing Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ played in a bar in Nigeria.


Genevieve Marenghi-Daly, She Freezes Who Does Not Burn

After graduating with BA Hons in English and Philosophy from Exeter University, Genevieve worked for eleven years at the Weekend FT, where she helped create and launch How To Spend It magazine. For nine years, she has volunteered as a room steward and ghost tour guide at Ham House – the magnificent Jacobean mansion where her book is set.


Nana Afua Pierre, A Boy Called Silence

Nana Afua Pierre is a British-Ghanaian writer based in Gloucestershire. Her manuscript, A Boy Called Silence was longlisted for the 2019 Mslexia Novel Competition and shortlisted for the SI Leeds Literary Prize 2020. In 2021, she was awarded a mentorship with award-winning author Sara Collins through the Curtis Brown Creative Breakthrough Writers’ Programme.


Emma van Straaten, Heartstring

Emma van Straaten was born in London and raised in West Sussex, receiving her degrees in English from Durham University. A swiftly abandoned career in law led her to the V&A Museum where she now works in fundraising. She lives in Putney with her husband and baby daughter.


Niloufar Tabatabai, Say My Name

Niloufar Tabatabai is a British-Iranian 28 year old based in London. Despite always aspiring to be a writer, Niloufar only took up writing during lockdown in between training to be a solicitor. She has never taken a creative writing course, but hopes to in the coming months. This is the first writing competition she has entered.


April Yee, Dosage and Control

April Yee is a writer and translator. A Harvard and Tin House alumna, she reported in more than a dozen countries before moving to the UK, where she contributes to Ploughshares online and mentors for UAL’s Refugee Journalism Project. She is shortlisted for the 2021 Fitzcarraldo Essay Prize and the University of East Anglia’s 2021/2022 David T.K. Wong Fellowship.


The Discoveries Prize shortlist of five writers will be announced on Wednesday 19 May.

The winner will be offered representation by Curtis Brown Literary Agency and a cash prize of £5,000. All longlisted and shortlisted authors will be offered personalised packages of mentorship from a Curtis Brown agent or industry expert tailored to their individual needs, as well as free or discounted places on one of Curtis Brown Creative’s writing courses.

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