Runner-up at Emirates LitFest’s Montegrappa First Fiction Competition earns book deal with top UK publishing house
An aspiring writer in Dubai has earned a book deal with Chicken House, a prestigious UK publishing firm, after winning second place at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature’s Montegrappa First Fiction Competition in 2014. Chicken House was founded by Barry Cunningham who signed J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”.
Lucinda Martin, a British teacher and writer, is no stranger to awards, having won accolades for her blog “Homesick and Heatstruck”. Martin said of the book deal, “The offer from Chicken House came through at the end of December – it’s the best present I have ever had! I’m thrilled that my novel has found a place with such a wonderful children’s publisher and I can’t wait to work with Barry Cunningham and Rachel Leyshon to develop the book for publication. I’m hugely grateful to Luigi for all his support and inspiration over the past year – and, of course, for choosing ‘Moth and the Nightingale’ as a prize-winning entry in the competition!”
“Moth and the Nightingale” is a fantasy story aimed at 8-13 year olds. The story is set in the summer of 1937 and follows Henrietta ‘Henry’ Abbott, a twelve year-old girl who has recently lost her brother in a fire. Henry meets an old woman in the woods and the unlikely pair form a friendship that helps them uncover buried secrets and heal old wounds.
Luigi Bonomi, top UK literary agent and judge of the Montegrappa First Fiction Competition said, “Lucinda’s writing is beautiful and evocative. She has written a very real family story that resonates with you from the very first page. I am not surprised that Chicken House have signed on this original and charming story.”
Martin is the latest Montegrappa First Fiction winner to earn a book deal, following close on the heels of 2013 winner Annabel Kantaria, whose book “Coming Home” will be published in May 2015 and 2013 runner-up Rachel Hamilton, who will be publishing her second children’s book, “The Case of the Exploding Brains” this year.
“We are thrilled for Lucinda and wish her the very best on this new and exciting journey,” said Isobel Abulhoul, CEO of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Festival Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. “The Festival’s aim is to give budding writers the much-needed opportunity to have their work reviewed by an experienced and critical eye. We do this with our sessions, our workshops and our competitions. The Montegrappa First Fiction Competition has been a phenomenal success, and despite there being no guarantees for publication, three winners in two years have secured book deals, which is testament to the talent in Dubai that is waiting to be discovered. Anything is possible at the Festival so get out your pen and paper or your laptop and start writing your entry for next year’s competition.”
The Montegrappa First Fiction Competition was launched in 2013 and has become a much awaited opportunity for budding writers. All winners receive a hand-engraved Montegrappa pen and a copy of the current Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook with the top winner also receiving a trip to the London Book Fair 2015 and lunch with Luigi Bonomi at the Fair.
Giuseppe Aquila, CEO of Montegrappa Italia, spoke highly of the company’s association with the competition, “Lucinda’s book deal is an amazing achievement and we are delighted for her. The First Fiction Competition has proven to have an excellent track record of giving writers a platform from which to be published. We are thrilled to have had a part to play in making Lucinda’s writing dreams come true. As makers of hand-crafted pens, we have been associated with the writing tradition for a very long time and it is with great pride that we are involved with discovering new authors.”
Luigi Bonomi is one of the UK’s top literary agents and has launched the careers of many bestselling authors. He is the founder of Luigi Bonomi Associates (LBA), which represents a variety of authors, journalists and writers, including John Humphrys, Esther Rantzen and Alan Titchmarsh. In addition to his day job, he is Honorary Professor of Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University and Literary Consultant for the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival. In 2010 he won the Bookseller Industry Award for Literary Agent of the Year.
The Festival takes place in Dubai from 3 to 7 March under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with Emirates and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage. The Festival is now part of the Emirates Literature Foundation, which was established in 2013 by Royal decree.
The full author line-up, programme and tickets are available online at www.emirateslitfest.com. Tickets can also be purchased in person at WHSmith stores in Dubai Mall, Marina Mall and Oasis Centre in Dubai and Al Wahda Mall and Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi. The Festival operates a dedicated membership scheme called Festival Friends which offers discounts on tickets as well as benefit packages.
All information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is on-line. Check for updates at www.emirateslitfest.com. Join us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/emirateslitfest), Twitter (www.twitter.com/emirateslitfest), Instagram (http://instagram.com/EmiratesLitFest) and YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/EmiratesLitFest) for competitions and more updates.
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