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After lots of reading, much discussion and a close-fought judging meeting, our 2018 Shadow Panel have made their choice and have chosen their winner…

Imogen Hermes Gowar, for The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock


What the panel said:

“I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction but The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock drew me in with its engrossing storytelling, clear-eyed portrayal of women’s position in eighteenth-century society and atmospheric period detail, all leavened with a pleasingly sly wit.” – Susan Osborne, A Life In Books

“Gowar’s book is well researched and her attention to detail for the period is spot on. The prose is elaborate but suits the time period that it is written in well. It has a strong moral tale and about obsession, oppression and tragedy. ” – Paul Cheney, Half Man Half Book

“A captivating tale rich in style, sagacity and substance, the exquisite detail and compelling nature of Hermes Gower’s debut makes it a worthy winner of this year’s shadow judging panel.” Lucy Pearson, The Lit Edit

“The Mermaid And Mrs Hancock is the kind of book that stays with you for life. The kind of book you recommend to everyone with a huge smile on your face. Full of rich and sumptuous writing, stunning Georgian period detail and characters so vibrant and full of life they leap right off the page. Imogen Hermes Gowar is a very deserving winner. I’m thrilled for her and can’t wait to read her next work.” – Amanda Chatterton, Bookish Chat


“The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock is an engaging and intriguing novel that has rightly garnered a lot of praise. All the books on the shortlist are impressive, but for us this stood out as our winner.” – Lizzi Risch, These Little Words


We’d like to say huge congratulations to Imogen – and a huge thanks to our wonderful Shadow Panel – it’s been fascinating to read their thoughts this year.

 The winner of the 2018 Sunday Times / Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award will be announced on 6 December 2018.

Young Writer Award @YoungWriterYear

Follow us on twitter. The Young Writer of the Year Award is a prize of £10,000 for a writer under 35.

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