The Luke Bitmead Bursary is an annual award set up to support and encourage the work of fledgling novel writers. The award, now in its 9th year, is the UK's biggest prize for unpublished authors. Here are our 8 brilliant winners:
For the third time this week he is watching her scream. Watching, not listening.
In a run-down student residence in South London, Annelie Strandli, a beautiful but confused designer...
They came for me, just like I knew they would. Luke had been dead for just three days. Rose Wilks li...
Lacey Carmichael leads a solitary life. To her neighbours she is the mad old woman who lives at the ...
Philippa Smith is in her forties and has a beautiful newborn baby girl. She also has no husband, and...
The bursary was set up by Luke’s family shortly after Luke’s sudden and tragic death in 2006, aged just 34. Luke was the first novelist to be published by Legend Press, and we are delighted to work with Luke's family each year on the award to honour his memory and help reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues. The top prize is a publishing contract with Legend Press, as well as a £2,500 cash prize.
As the Luke Bitmead Memorial Fund and ourselves are keen to ensure this important prize continues for many years to come, from this year there will be a £10 entry fee per submission, which will be paid directly to the Luke Bitmead Memorial Fund.
Andrew Blackman, our 2008 winner: 'Without Luke my book would not have existed. Everything I’ve enjoyed over the last couple of years – all the sales, all the readings, the signings, the radio interviews, the film rights – all of it has come about because of Luke and the efforts of his family to create something positive out of the tragedy of his death.'
Ruth Dugdall, our 2009 winner: ‘Winning the bursary was my absolute breakthrough moment, but even knowing that my novel would be published I could never have been prepared for what happened next. Readers told me how moved they were, how the story lingered long after they closed the cover; such feedback is a gift for any writer. And other gifts followed with foreign rights being sold, and the championing of the novel by Amazon. I have also had two other books, The James Version & The Sacrificial Man, published by Legend Press.’
Sophie Duffy, our 2010 winner: 'I'll always be grateful to Luke and his amazing warrior mother, Elaine. Winning the bursary and having The Generation Game published gave me validation as a writer. But, more importantly, Luke's story has helped me speak out about my own battle with depression and given me the confidence to challenge the stigma of mental health issues whenever I can. You need guts to be a writer, tenacity if you want to be published. Entering the bursary just might give you the chance to have your turn in the sun.'
Tara Guha, our 2014 winner: 'The Luke Bitmead Bursary should come with a warning: This award might change your life. Being announced as the 2014 winner certainly changed the whole trajectory of mine – to an intoxicating new world of publishing contracts, copy edits, marketing questionnaires and finally – yes – a book with my name on the cover! To be transformed in a split second from someone who writes to a bona fide writer is a wondrous thing and the equivalent of my Cinderella moment. I will always be deeply grateful to the Bursary, Legend Press and most of all to my fairy godmother, Elaine Hanson.'
Your entry should be sent using the form below. If you have any problems, or general queries about the Bursary please email: email@example.com
To pay the £10 entry fee, please click here. (Note: please retain a copy of your receipt should you be requested for it as proof of entry.)
To coincide with the opening of submissions we are delighted to launch the debut novel of our 2015 winner Lyn G. Farrell. The Wacky Man follows the perspective of a teenage girl struggling for love and happiness in a world controlled by her increasingly violent and abusive father. Her debut is an insightful, deeply personal analysis of mental health and the stigma attached to it. The novel has been described by Man Booker Prize nominated author Clio Gray as her ‘Book of the Year’.
Submissions are open from 2nd May 2016 to 15th July 2016
Your submission should include the following (as indicated in the form below):