We are thrilled to have announced the winners of our PFD Queer Fiction Prize 2022!
Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin won in the adult category, Aoife Doyle in the middle grade category, and Leanne Egan in the YA category.
The Next Life by Ní Mhaoileoin follows a queer Irish woman living in London who has just learned that her dead brother is being made into the first Millennial saint by the Catholic Church.
Ní Mhaoileoin said she was “thrilled” to have won the prize “especially considering the depth and quality of the shortlist”. The author added: “As both a reader and writer, I’m grateful to PFD for creating this space for new queer voices. The prize is a huge confidence boost and I’m looking forward to working with my agent Cara on the development of my novel.”
Author and judge of the adult category Okechukwu Nzelu said: “This feels like strong, charismatic fiction. It’s not only very funny, it balances this well with carefully-managed exposition, characterisation and detail. The whole concept of it is really engaging. I’m excited to see where this writing — and this writer — will go next.”
Doyle’s The Music Weaver’s Call, is described as a middle-grade The Witcher steeped in Irish mythology. It follows music-weaver Finta as she battles otherworldly creatures with her magic fiddle while trying to rid her sister of a curse which has turned her into a wolfhound.
Doyle said: “Finding an agent is always a major milestone to celebrate, and more so in today’s climate. To manage to sign a dream agent at an agency committed to supporting marginalised voices, and to achieve this because I am queer and for a story that is deeply queer is the stuff of fantasies that makes your heart sing. I’m so grateful and so proud and can’t wait to start working on this story that never stops surprising me!”
Egan’s Lover Birds is a sapphic retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in Liverpool which celebrates messy queer kids, good old-fashioned yearning, and the time-honoured enemies-to-lovers trope.
Egan said: “It doesn’t feel real, my flatmate is still laughing about all the times I said I didn’t expect to be shortlisted. I’m so excited for more people to meet these characters I love so much.”
Winners will receive editorial support from the very first draft, and front-of-house placement with our translation and film and television teams. The Queer Fiction Prize will run again in 2023, with further details to be announced.