Discoveries Prize | Readers & Judges
The Women’s Prize Trust, Audible, Curtis Brown Literary Agency and Curtis Brown Creative writing school have partnered to run the Discoveries writing development programme for a second year. Discoveries invites all unpublished women writers aged 18 and up, residing in the UK or Ireland and writing in English, to submit their works of fiction to the Discoveries Prize. The prize doesn’t require writers to have finished a novel – only to have started one – and it is free to enter.
Discoveries is more than a traditional writing prize, it is a pioneering development initiative which offers practical support and encouragement to aspiring female novelists of all ages and backgrounds, from across the UK and Ireland. The programme culminates with awarding the Discoveries Prize for an unpublished novel-in-progress.
The prize will accept novels in any genre of adult fiction and entrants will be required to submit only the first 10,000 words of their novel with a synopsis of up to 1,000 words (but if you can, keep it shorter than that – 500 words is plenty).
The Discoveries Prize are proud to be working with the many talented publishing professionals that make-up our team of readers. Including publishers, editorial assistants, agents and agent assistants.
Our first and second round readers will select twenty-five novels to put forward to the judging panel. Then a longlist of sixteen and shortlist of six writers will be selected by a judging panel chaired by acclaimed author and Women’s Prize Founder Director Kate Mosse. She will be joined by esteemed writers Ayisha Malik and Irenosen Okojie; Lucy Morris, Curtis Brown literary agent; and Anna Davis, Founder and Managing Director of Curtis Brown Creative.
READERS & JUDGES
Kate Mosse, Author
Kate Mosse is the Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Kate is a number one international bestselling novelist, playwright and non-fiction writer. The author of six novels and short story collections – including the multimillion-selling Languedoc Trilogy (Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel) and Gothic fiction The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter, which she is adapting for the stage – her books have been translated into thirty-eight languages and published in more than forty countries. Kate is also the chair of the Discoveries judging panel.
Ayisha Malik, Author
Ayisha Malik is the author of the critically acclaimed novels, Sofia Khan is Not Obliged, The Other Half of Happiness, and This Green and Pleasant Land. She was a WHSmith Fresh Talent Pick and Sofia Khan was a London CityReads choice in May 2019. Her contributions have included, A Change is Gonna Come, A Matchmade in Heaven and The Sunday Times bestselling Conversations in Love. She has written a re-telling of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Part – part of Hachette’s Awesomely Austen children’s series – and the children’s book, Seven Sisters. Ayisha is winner of The Diversity Book Awards and has been shortlisted for the Asian Women of Achievement Award, Marie Claire’s Future Shapers Awards and h100’s Awards for Publishing and Writing. Her fourth adult novel, The Movement, is to be published in summer 2022.
Irenosen Okojie, Author
Irenosen Okojie is a Nigerian British writer. Appointed to the Royal Society of Literature as a Fellow in 2018, her short stories have been published in the US, Africa and the UK. Her debut novel, Butterfly Fish, was published in 2015, for which she was a recipient of a 2016 Betty Trask Award. Her short story collection, Speak Gigantular, was published in 2016. It was shortlisted for the 2016 inaugural Jhalak Prize and the 2017 Edge Hill Short Story Prize. A collection of short stories, Nudibranch, was published in 2019. It was longlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2020. The story ‘Grace Jones’ won the 2020 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing. In 2021 she was awarded an MBE For Services To Literature. A novel, Curandera, is forthcoming in 2022.
Lucy Morris, Curtis Brown Agent
Lucy joined the Curtis Brown Books Department in September 2014 from Bloomsbury Publishing and us actively building a list of commercial and reading group fiction, narrative non-fiction and memoir. Her clients include CBC alumni Elizabeth Lee and Hazel Barkworth.
Anna Davis, CBC Founder & Director
Anna is the founder and Director of the Curtis Brown Creative writing school. She is the author of five acclaimed novels which have been published in twenty languages. She has been a journalist and Guardian columnist, as well as a Curtis Brown literary agent. She taught creative writing at the University of Manchester and in many other settings before founding Curtis Brown Creative in 2011.
Rosie Pierce, Curtis Brown
Rosie joined Curtis Brown in 2018, after a couple of years in editorial at an independent publisher in Edinburgh. She now works alongside Felicity Blunt on her list of talented authors.
Viola Hayden, Curtis Brown
Viola worked as a commissioning agent at Sphere before joining Curtis Brown as an associate agent in Jonny Geller’s Office. She works on Jonny’s list of clients as well as building a list of new clients.
Jess Molloy, Curtis Brown
Jess joined the Curtis Brown literary department in October 2019 having previously worked at Curtis Brown in the talent and comedy department and within talent management for over 8 years. She currently assists Cathryn Summerhayes with her brilliant and eclectic list.
Abby Parsons, Senior Manager
Abby Parsons is CBC’s current Senior Manager for Courses and Operations (maternity cover). Abby has been editing commercial fiction since 2014, at Hodder & Stoughton, Little, Brown Book Group and, most recently, HQ, HarperCollins, where she worked on bestselling books and exciting debut authors. In 2016 she co-founded Dear Damsels, a publishing platform sharing the words of women, and has loved working closely with new writers to help them find the very best version of their story ever since.
Ciara Finan, Curtis Brown
Ciara joined Curtis Brown after graduating with an MA in Literature and Publishing from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Ciara joined the Books Department as an intern and now she assists Jonny Geller with his list of exceptional clients.
Sophia Macaskill, Curtis Brown
Sophia started in publishing at Ed Victor Ltd. before joining Curtis Brown in 2018. She works alongside Alice Lutyens on her wonderful list of authors and has helped grow the Podcast Department since its inception in 2019.
Caitlin Leydon, Curtis Brown
Caitlin has worked with Karolina Sutton on her amazing list of authors since 2018. Prior to joining Curtis Brown she worked in editorial for an illustrated publisher.
Sade Omeje, HarperCollins
Sade Omeje is the editorial and publishers assistant at 4th Estate and William Collins, where she works across some of the most exciting literary and commercial fiction and non-fiction titles. She is passionate about new, fresh voices as well as writers whose work pushes boundaries and grapples with uncomfortable questions and realities. Last year, she ran the ‘HarperLite: Virtual Open Day’ sessions across both imprints, a virtual work experience day for those interested in publishing as a career. She has been a mentor at SYP:North as well as the Harper Collins Author Academy for two years.
Emily Harris, Curtis Brown
Following several summer stints selling tickets at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, in 2016 Emily joined DAA Management as assistant to comedy agent Debi Allen and moved with her to Curtis Brown the following year. Now Emily assists Sheila Crowley on her wonderful list of fiction and non-fiction titles.
Serena Arthur, Wildfire Books
Serena is Editorial Assistant at Wildfire Books, Headline. She joined Wildfire in July 2020 after nine months as Editorial Trainee on the Headline Fiction team. Currently, as well as assisting the team, she is taking ownership of some of Wildfire’s current authors, forming new connections in the industry and starting to build her own list. She is on the lookout for speculative fiction, grounded SFF, memorable and diverse fiction and captivating voices in any form.
Deirdre Power, Curtis Brown
Deirdre joined Curtis Brown in 2021 after graduating with an MPhil in Children’s Literature from Trinity College Dublin. She assists Stephanie Thwaites and Cathryn Summerhayes on their diverse list of superb authors.
Meredith Ford, C&W
Meredith joined C&W in 2018 initially as a translation rights intern before starting her role as Susan Armstrong and Sophie Lambert’s assistant. Prior to joining C&W she worked as an intern at Murdoch Books and Simon & Schuster.
Jodi Fabbri, Curtis Brown
Originally from Kansas, after attending Eastern Michigan University for Creative Writing, Jodi moved to the Czech Republic to teach English as a Second Language. She began working in publishing in London with an editorial internship in 2015, followed by a literary scouting internship and an agent’s assistant position. Jodi joined Curtis Brown as a translation rights executive in September 2018. She works alongside Melissa Pimentel (currently on sabbatical covered by Sarah Harvey) on Curtis Brown titles, and Sophie Baker on Curtis Brown, Gelfman Schneider / ICM, ICM and ICM / Sagalyn titles.
Matilda Ayris, C&W
I’ve worked at C&W since 2017 where I am part of the translation rights team. I was born in London, but spent much of my childhood moving between the UK, Sweden and Hong Kong and am bilingual in English and Swedish. In 2017 I graduated from the University of East Anglia with a degree in American Literature and Creative Writing, having spent a year abroad studying at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. I read fairly widely, but some favourites include The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo, The Expatriates by Janice Y K Lee, Heartburn by Norah Ephron and Samlade Verk by Lydia Sandgren.
Shanika Hyslop, Curtis Brown
Shanika joined Curtis Brown in 2022 as an assistant to Felicity Blunt and Alice Lutyens on their fantastic lists. Prior to joining Curtis Brown she worked as a Publishing Trainee at Hachette and a freelance scriptwriter.
Sophie O'Mahony, Curtis Brown
Sophie is part of the legal team at The Curtis Brown Group, having found her way there shortly after completing a Curtis Brown Creative novel writing course. When she is not busy negotiating contracts she enjoys reading an eclectic range of books, poems and short stories. Her draft novel Third Space came second in the 2019 Bridport Prize’s Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award.
Louise Emslie-Smith, Curtis Brown
Louise is part of the busy Contracts team at Curtis Brown and loves working alongside both CB and C&W agents and assistants on their exciting book deals. Louise studied at St. Andrews and then worked in Contracts at Penguin Random House and The Blair Partnership, before joining Curtis Brown in 2018.
Darren Biabowe Barnes, C&W
Darren Biabowe Barnes
Darren previously worked as an intern at Pan Macmillan, HarperCollins and Mira Trenchard Literary Scouting, and is currently as a literary assistant working with Clare Conville at C&W.
Caoimhe White, Curtis Brown
Originally from Ireland, Caoimhe graduated with a degree in Law from Trinity College Dublin in 2020 before completing a Publishing MA in 2021 while working on Dublin Book Festival. Caoimhe joined Curtis Brown as a Translation Rights Executive in 2021 and works with Liz Dennis on her list of authors, covering territories such as Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Russia and Turkey.
Rosa Schierenberg, Welbeck Publishing
Rosa started her publishing career at United Agents before joining Welbeck Publishing Group in 2019, where she set up the Fiction imprint alongside Jon Elek. She is now Editorial Director, working across a range of brilliant and bestselling commercial authors such as Jessie Cave, Julia Ma and Wendy Holden.
Grace Robinson, Curtis Brown
Following a degree in Modern Languages, Grace briefly worked in the rights team at Macmillan Children’s Books before joining Curtis Brown as a Rights Executive in 2021. Now she works with Katie McGowan on her list of Curtis Brown authors, covering territories such as Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Russia and Turkey.
Lisa Babalis, Curtis Brown
Lisa joined Curtis Brown in 2011 as Jonny Geller’s assistant, she now works as an editorial consultant to the book department at Curtis Brown. She is currently building her own children’s book list, with a special focus on middle grade and YA writers. She is looking for a strong narrative with great writing.
Tanja Goossens, Curtis Brown
Originally from the Netherlands, Tanja graduated in 2012 from her Bachelor in Media & Communication. After working in television for seven years, she moved to London and graduated from a Master in Publishing Media at Oxford Brookes in 2020. She joined Curtis Brown as Translation Rights Executive in December of that year and works alongside Jake Smith-Bosanquet on the ICM and Curtis Brown list.
Daniel Davies, Hachette Trainee
After graduating with an MA in Creative Writing, Daniel gained some experience working for Ebury in 2020. He spent the rest of the year trying to get back into the book trade before finding success and becoming a publishing trainee at Quercus, where he has also had the chance to work with Curtis Brown and Waterstones. Daniel loves speculative fiction, short stories, and plays of any kind.
Aphra Bennett, Hachette Trainee
Aphra is a publishing trainee at Hachette UK. As part of the traineeship, she has spent a month at Curtis Brown Literary Agency as an intern and is undertaking a month as a bookseller in Waterstones.
Bethan Jones, Simon & Schuster
Bethan Jones is senior commissioning editor at Simon & Schuster UK, working predominantly across the crime and thriller list. Her authors include Number One Sunday Times bestseller Chris Carter, international bestseller Kathy Reichs, Waterstones Thriller of the Month pick Russ Thomas and Jack Jordan, author of the highly anticipated Do No Harm, which will publish in May 2022. While Bethan mainly works on crime, she reads widely – some of her favourite novels are Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere, Mary Beth Keane’s Ask Again, Yes, Stuart Turton’s The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven.