Joanna Merifield wins Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize

23 May 2014

Lucy Cavendish College Cambridge last night have announced that the winner of their annual Fiction Prize is Joanna Merifield with her novel The Second Garden.

The increasingly well-respected and influential prize was judged by Madeleine Milburn - one of the top literary agents in the UK and Lindsey Traub - Emeritus Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, having been both Joanna Merifield 2014 Fiction Prize WinnerCollege Lecturer in English and Vice-President, and the judges were universal in their acclaim for the novel. The Prize was announced at a special dinner in celebration of the prize and attended by the shortlist, judges, the college community and well-known literary agents.

The Second Garden tells the take of a miniature portrait of a family in extreme pain seen through the eyes of the teenage daughter, Stella, who has become an emotional lightening rod for her parents’ loss of another child.

After a career as an actress, and then a full-time mother, the last few years for Joanna have been focused on writing poetry, screenplays and, primarily, fiction. Joanna has just graduated from Brunel University with a Masters Degree in The Novel, and prior to that she completed the Diploma in Creative Writing at Oxford University. The Lucy Cavendish Fiction prize is the first novel writing competition she has submitted to, and Joanna is delighted to have won with ‘The Second Garden’.

The competition this year has been tougher than ever as the Prize grows in popularity. Alongside Joanna this year’s shortlist was of an exceptional standard and included Lilian Butterwick with A Silent World, Annette Gordon with When I was Loved, Anni Domingo with Breaking the Maafa Chain and Gail Honeyman with Eleanor Oliphant. Find out more about our shortlisted novelists.

The prize, now in its fourth year, is supported by several large publishers, some former finalists and winners are now published in their own right. Recent successes include last year’s winner, Catherine Chantner now published by Canongate with The Well, Karen Ross from the 2013 shortlist having her novel Mother of the Year published with Ebury Press, Kathryn Simmonds, again shortlisted in 2013, has had Love and Fallout published by Seren Publishing and Alex Hourston, from 2013 shortlist, has been signed by Faber, Vicki Jarrett’s 2011 entry Nothing is Heavy published by Linen Press in 2012, and Sophia Tobin, whose 2011 entry, The Silversmith's Wife, published as part of a two-book deal with Simon and Schuster.

Notes to Editors: Lucy Cavendish is the only women's college in the country exclusively for students aged 21 or over, and a unique part of the University of Cambridge. Its undergraduates and postgraduates come from over sixty countries, and a wide variety of educational and professional backgrounds. Many have changed careers or overcome significant challenges in order to reach University. The College is particularly strong in Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Law, Psychology, the Social Sciences and English. Our President, Professor Janet Todd OBE, is an internationally-renowned scholar of early women writers and author of many biographies and critical works.

Contact information:

Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge – Jeanette Ariano, Communications & Marketing Manager, 01223 768426 ja530@cam.ac.uk



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