Aspiring novelists chosen for Novel Fair 2014

Niamh Boyce, a previous Novel Fair Winner, had her book, The Herbalist, published last year by Penguin

Niamh Boyce, a previous Novel Fair Winner, had her book, The Herbalist, published last year by Penguin


Twelve novelists have been selected from more than 300 applicants to take part in Novel Fair 2014, an annual event taking place on February 22nd and organised by the Irish Writers’ Centre. Now in its third year, the event aims to introduce up-and-coming writers to top publishers and literary agents, giving novelists the opportunity to bypass the slush pile, pitch their ideas and place their synopsis and sample chapters directly into the hands of publishers and agents.

The judging panel was Rachel Pierce, owner and editor of Verba Editing House; Anthony Glavin, editor and writer; and Sarah Davis-Goff, publisher and founder of Tramp Press. Since the October 16th deadline, the judges have read 306 synopses and opening chapters and whittled them down to the 12 winners.

Glavin described their final selection as “a rich cornucopia of hugely promising premises, plots, characters, insights and outcomes for a dozen novels across all genres, all underpinned by original, engaging, well-executed writing. Not to be missed!”

This year’s winners are Evan Cody, Simon Fay, Alan Gorevan, Geraldine Hogan, Rachael Kelly, Caitriona Lally, Bláthnaid Nolan, David O’Brien, Nathan O’Donnell, Lisa Parker, Grey Phelan and Áine Tierney. The work includes literary, children’s, historical, scifi, thriller and crime fiction. One of the winners will travel home to Kilkenny all the way from New Zealand to take part. For another, it’s her first win after making the long list in two previous years, with a different novel submitted each time.

The Novel Fair presents a unique opportunity to meet some of the most influential people in Irish publishing, and could kick-start a literary career for this year’s winners. Last year’s fair was attended by representatives from Penguin Ireland, Hachette Ireland, Transworld Ireland, Picador, New Island, O’Brien Press, Lilliput Press, Liberties Press, Curtis Brown, The Book Bureau, Marianne Gunne O’Connor Literary Agency, Jonathan Williams Literary Agency and Lisa Richards Agency.

The event was launched in 2011 and has seen several novels published as a direct result. Last year saw the publication of Novel Fair winners Niamh Boyce (The Herbalist), Janet E Cameron (Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World), Ian Flitcroft (The Reluctant Cannibals) and Kevin Curran (Beatsploitation). Daniel Seery’s A Model Partner is due to hit bookshelves next month.