Sarah Harman wins 2023 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize

May 26, 2023

The College announced this year’s winner of its prestigious Fiction Prize at the dedicated award ceremony.

Sarah Harman has won the 2023 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize with her novel The Dirtbag Detective.

This year’s prize received once again an exceptional number of entries, totalling 571. Six were shortlisted by a panel chaired by critically acclaimed novelist, Dame Rose Tremain. Returning to the panel were Tim Bates, Head of the Books Department and literary agent at PFD; Jackie Ashley, political journalist, broadcaster and Honorary Fellow of the College; Dr Isobel Maddison, Fellow Emerita of Lucy Cavendish College; Gillian Stern, editor and ghost-writer; Lindsey Traub, Fellow Emerita; and Phoebe Morgan, Crime & Thriller Publisher at Hodder & Stoughton and author of four books published by HarperCollins. Joining the panel for 2023 we had Reeta Chakrabarti, BBC News presenter and correspondent; and Sheena Patel, writer and assistant director for the film and TV industry.

Sarah Harman is a recovering journalist based in London. As a broadcaster, she has over a decade of experience reporting on major breaking news stories around the globe, most recently as a foreign correspondent for NBC News, reporting for Today, Nightly News and MSNBC. Prior to that, Sarah anchored a rolling news broadcast for Deutsche Welle TV in Berlin. Dirtbag Detective is her first attempt at a novel.

Chair of the judging panel, Dame Rose Tremain says, “The judging process was spirited and lengthy but in The Dirtbag Detective we believe we have found a very exciting winner. Sarah Harman’s voice is waspish, slick and amusing and the story she tells has real pace and grip.  We see a great future for this writer.

Tim Bates adds, “In a bumper year for the Prize, and from within a very good shortlist, Sarah Harman’s The Dirtbag Detective stood out for the quality and certainty of its voice – stylish, wry, satirical and often very funny. With a compelling and fast-paced plot, Dirtbag is a very worthy winner and I’m sure Sarah has a brilliant career before her.”