Yesterday evening we had the pleasure of attending the launch for Carolyn Kirby’s debut novel ‘The Conviction of Cora Burns’.
We are incredibly pleased about how far both the novel and Carolyn have come since we awarded her first prize in the inaugural blue pencil agency First Novel Award back in 2017, judged by agent Eve White and author Saskia Sarginson. Carolyn’s novel, initially titled ‘Half of You’, was started during Faber writing course. ‘The Conviction of Cora Burns’ is historical thriller set in Birmingham that explores Victorian debates of Nature versus Nurture. It follows Cora’s search for the reasons behind her troubled personality as she delves into the dark secrets of her past.
In addition to winning the BPA award, Carolyn’s novel received a great deal of interest and praise from other writing competitions, including being shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in 2016, winning second place in the Daniel Goldsmith First Novel Prize in 2017 and being long-listed for the Mslexia Novel Competition, the Exeter Novel Prize and the Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize. After signing with agent David Haviland at Andrew Lownie Associates, Carolyn secured a two-book publishing deal with No Exit Press in May 2018.
Although Carolyn predicted that she would be able to write her novel in six weeks, in a wonderful speech she listed all of the steps, hurdles and awards she encountered on her eleven-year journey. The process may have taken longer she first thought, however ‘The Conviction of Cora Burns’ is a compelling read that is completely deserving of all of the awards and acclaim that is has received. We cannot wait to see what Carolyn will do in the future.
The BPA First Novel Award is running for its third year in a row and is currently open for submissions from unrepresented and unpublished authors for a novel in any adult fiction genre. Our Judges this year are literary agent Nelle Andrew and author Beth Underdown. The deadline for entries is the 31st May 2019.