Lucy Cavendish College has named the 2020 winner of its prestigious Fiction Prize as Aoife Fitzpatrick, with her novel An Arrangement in Grey and Black.
This was the second biggest year for the Prize, which received a total of over 400 entries. Six were shortlisted by a judging panel chaired by journalist and author Allison Pearson. Also judging was Jackie Ashley, political journalist, broadcaster and Honorary Fellow of the College (after leaving the College as its eight President).
New to the panel was Clio Cornish, Editorial Director for Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House. Returning judges were literary agent Nelle Andrew, editor and ghost-writer Gillian Stern, Emeritus Fellow Lindsey Traub, and poet, crime writer and Honorary Fellow, Sophie Hannah. Another newcomer to the judging panel this year was Tim Bates, Head of the Books Department and literary agent sponsor at PFD.
Aoife Fitzpatrick is a native of Dublin, Ireland. Her short stories have been published in ‘Southword’ literary journal, ‘Books Ireland’ magazine, and by the Welsh independent publisher, Cinnamon Press. Winner of the inaugural Books Ireland short-story award, her work has also been recognised by the Séan O’Faoláin Prize, the Elizabeth Jolley Prize and by the Writing.ie Short Story of the Year award. She read English Studies at Trinity College, Dublin, and graduated the MFA in Creative Writing at University College Dublin, with distinction, in 2019. The Arts Council of Ireland has supported her shortlisted novel, An Arrangement in Grey & Black, with a literature bursary for 2020.
Tim Bates commented on this year’s winner:
“Aoife Fitzpatrick is a worthy winner from an unusually strong shortlist. Her An Arrangement in Grey and Black is a stunning and sophisticated historical novel, based on a true story of a murder trial in nineteenth century West Virginia, and the only time the testimony of a ghost has been allowed in a US courtroom. It’s a brilliant piece of historical re-creation.”
College President, Dame Madeleine Atkins said,
“Many congratulations to Aoife for this outstanding success. We are delighted to help new authors on their journey to publication and can’t wait to see copies of her novel in bookshops and the Lucy Cavendish Library in the future!”