Press release follows:
London, 17 October – Eight months ago Stylist magazine and publishing house Faber and Faber set out to find Britain’s hottest new crime fiction talent – with a £5,000 book deal to be won. After 364 astounding entries, three intensive days of reading entries and a shortlist judged by Ruth Rendell and Stylist editor Lisa Smosarski, the winner has finally been revealed as Kate Griffin, author of the brilliant Kitty Peck And The Music Hall Murders.
Despite all of the entries’ incredible level of talent, Griffin’s opening 6,000 words immediately grabbed the judges’ attention. Ruth Rendell explains, “It’s original, well and simply written and has a horrible but moving subject.” Hannah Griffiths, publishing director at Faber and Faber agrees, “Something about Kate Griffin’s imagination and the way she captures it on the page is very special and rare. Her protagonist – and antagonist – are entirely memorable. And the story is rich with character and mystery.”
Set against the backdrop of the Victorian music hall, the story focuses on the intelligent and immensely likeable heroine Kitty Peck who is drawn into a crime-ridden seedy underworld run by the monstrously compelling, Lady Ginger. Kate, 49, from St Albans wrote the entire chapter in a weekend (sitting in her pyjamas), “I know it sounds weird but the idea just popped into my head. It’s based around the world’s oldest surviving music hall, Wilton Hall in London’s East End.” Having previously worked as a journalist and PR for The Society For The Protection Of Ancient Buildings, Kate is embracing her new role as an author. “I’m incredibly excited and daunted about finishing the novel. My husband is also thrilled. I keep catching him looking at holiday flats in Cornwall.”
However, it wasn’t just Kate Griffin who has been discovered in the course of the competition. The second prize, a £1,750 writing course at Faber Academy, goes to the brilliantly ambitious Markers by stenographer Alexis Rigg, 29, from London. The high-concept thriller blew Stylist associate editor Alix Walker away, “The premise gripped me the second I started reading it. It reminds me of The Hunger Games and was exactly what I wanted to find – writing that could set future literary trends, rather than follow them, and a story begging to be turned into a film. I think Alexis will benefit hugely from Faber’s course.”
Faber and Faber will publish Kate’s first novel next July and have high hopes it will be the first of many more.