Deadline Friday, October 29, 2010.
The winner of last year’s competition has been announced. ‘So tantalising and so appetite-whetting for the novels to come,’ was the verdict of judges Fay Weldon, Deborah Moggach and James Buchan on this year’s entries. The participants had to write the opening lines of a book using the word ‘light’. Diane Coulson from Newbury, won with her 132-word piece, described as ‘simply but effectively written, visual, spare, surprising’:
From where I am sitting, upstairs in the house, on the window sill, wrapped in the curtains for warmth, I can look down on to the swimming pool.
I can see Rosy there, on the floor of the pool, the pale winter light illuminating her bright red hair. I can see Patrick sitting on the edge of the pool, his legs dangling down as he watches her.
I want to throw open the window and shout down that she shouldn’t be out there. It is too cold. She is the light of Patrick’s life, of all of our lives, but he never thinks of practical things like keeping warm. We both continue to watch her as she dances wildly and beautifully, using the floor of the long drained pool as her stage.
For this year’s competition you need to create the opening lines of a novel – between 50 and 150 words – introducing the word ‘set’. It could be a set expression, a set-to, setting off, or you can use it as an adjective, noun or verb. The winner will receive £400 in book tokens and a place on an Arvon writing course. The 5 runners-up wil receive book tokens ranging from £150 to £300. The judges will be Fay Weldon, James Buchan and Minette Walters.
Send your entry – typed or clearly written (!) – with your name, address, telephone number and email address on the same page, to arrive by Friday, October 29, to The Mail on Sunday Novel Competition, PO Box 150, Rochester, Kent ME1 9AG. Results will be announced next summer, so be patient.