Stephen Fry and Philip Pullman to judge major Scottish Book Prize

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Writer and broadcaster Stephen Fry and acclaimed novelist Philip Pullman have been named as two of the judging panel for this year’s Dundee International Book Prize.

They will be joining forces with the new star of the Scottish literary scene, Alan Bissett, and renowned literary agent Jenny Brown.  The panel will judge submissions in this, the 8th year of the prize, which has grown in international importance.

Writer and broadcaster Stephen Fry and acclaimed novelist Philip Pullman have been named as two of the judging panel for this year’s Dundee International Book Prize.

They will be joining forces with the new star of the Scottish literary scene, Alan Bissett, and renowned literary agent Jenny Brown.  The panel will judge submissions in this, the 8th year of the prize, which has grown in international importance.

The ambitions of the competition have been further energised by the presence of Cargo Publishing, one of Scotland’s newest and most innovative publishing houses, who boast authors like Will Self, Roddy Doyle and Michael Morpurgo for their 2012 list.

The novelist judged to have won by this auspicious panel will have their book published by Cargo, who replaced Birlinn as the publisher of the prize last year.

The lucrative prize of £10,000 is the largest cash prize for unpublished work in the U.K. and thus regularly attracts hundreds of unpublished writers from around the world to enter.

Mark Buckland, Cargo MD, was enthusiastic about the new judging line-up.

“We’re delighted to have secured the assistance of these four top judges for the prize.  The panel reflects our ambition for the winner, the prize in general and our own publishing programme and festivals.  We’re really looking forward to working with the judges to find a top class winner for 2012.” he said.

Stephen Fry, who has just announced his return to theatre, is the author of four novels.  His link to Dundee is forged in his former role as Rector of Dundee University, one of the partners in the Dundee International Book Prize.

Philip Pullman is a prolific author with more than 20 titles, but is known best for the His Dark Materials trilogy.

Alan Bissett’s debut novel Boyracers met with critical acclaim, and he has gone on to write a further three novels, as well as many short stories, plays and editing several anthologies.  Alan’s Youtube video of his poem ‘Vote Britain’ has been an internet hit with over 20,000 views.

Jenny Brown, a former broadcaster and now one of the U.K’s most respected literary agents, representing some of the best-known names in literature.

The Dundee International Book Prize is a collaborative event with the ‘Dundee – One City, Many Discoveries’ campaign and Literary Dundee, a University-led initiative, and Cargo Publishing based in Glasgow.

Literary Dundee Director Anna Day was equally enthusiastic about the judges’ appointment. “It is fantastic that we have such an accomplished panel on board,” she said, “You’d be hard pressed to find a set of judges with as much experience and expertise to call on deciding the winner of any book prize.

“Philip Pullman is simply a giant of the literary world, and Stephen Fry is both a novelist himself
and an intellectual with an innate understanding of what makes great art.

“In Alan Bissett, you have someone who knows well the challenges of transforming ideas in your head into words on the page, and making a powerful statement with your first novel. 

“As Scotland’s top literary agent, Jenny Brown has an uncanny knack of uncovering the talented budding writers whose talents marks them out from the rest; the quality and quantity of entries we receive grows each year.

“I am really looking forward to seeing who they select as the winner, and I am sure they will be a fitting recipient of one of the most exciting literary prizes for unpublished writers in the UK.”

Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee said “This is an exciting year for the Dundee Book Prize and I believe it will prove to be one of the most challenging for both entrants and judges.”

The closing date for entries is Thursday, 1st March, and submissions should be sent to bookprize@dundee.ac.uk. Details are available from www.dundeebookprize.com.
 
Only shortlisted authors will be contacted by the organisers of the prize.  The winner will be informed of their success in June and the book will be launched in published form in the autumn as part of the Dundee Literary Festival.