Deepa Anappara wins 2018 Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize

22 May 2018

Lucy Cavendish College, part of the University of Cambridge, and the only women’s college in the country for students aged 21 or over, has named the 2018 winner of its prestigious Fiction Prize as Deepa Anappara, with her novel Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line.

A total of 389 entries were received for the 2018 Fiction Prize. These were whittled down to the shortlist of six by a judging panel chaired by journalist and author Allison Pearson. The 2018 judging panel welcomed author Nicci Gerrard, journalist Eleanor Mills, editor Gina Dawson and literary agent Marilia Savvides from sponsor Peters Fraser & Dunlop. Returning judges include Dr Ian Patterson a poet, translator, writer and Fellow in English at Queens' College Cambridge, editor and ghost-writer, Gillian Stern and Lucy Cavendish College Fellow, Dr Lindsey Traub.

Deepa Anappara is currently doing a PhD in Creative-Critical Writing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. She has a Masters in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction) from UEA and previously worked as a journalist and editor in India. Her short fiction has won: the Dastaan Award, the Asian Writer Short Story Prize, the second prize in the Bristol Short Story awards and the third prize in the Asham awards. Her reports on education and human rights, published in newspapers and magazines in India, have won the Developing Asia Journalism awards, Every Human has Rights Media awards, and the Prabha Dutt Fellowship in Journalism. Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line won the Bridport/Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award for First Novel in 2017 and the Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award in 2018. The first chapters and synopsis can be read here.

Chair of the judging panel, Allison Pearson commented on this year’s winner:

“Deepa Anappara, the winner of the 2018 Lucy Canvendish Fiction Prize, is a dazzling new voice in fiction. Her novel Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line plunges us into the life of an Indian street child with astonishing immediacy, pathos, humour and breathless energy. The judges were unanimous in their praise and delight. Anappara has complete command of her fictional world, raising profound issues about poverty with the deftest and most beguiling of touches.

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is another wonderful discovery for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize which, in previous years, has brought national attention to unknown talents like Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine) and Catherine Chanter (The Well).”

College President Jackie Ashley said:

“Many congratulations to Deepa for her wonderful entry. We are delighted to support her and can’t wait to read the published novel in full!”

Now in its eighth year, the Fiction Prize has developed a formidable reputation for uncovering new talent and draws significant interest from the publishing industry. It has been a catalyst for numerous literary careers.

Previous entrants include 2013 winner Catherine Chanter whose debut The Well (Canongate) became a Richard and Judy Book Club pick with TV rights having been optioned by a major US studio. Gail Honeyman, a finalist in 2014, has been at the top of the fiction charts and has won many awards include ‘Costa First Novel’ for Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (HarperCollins). Laura Marshall was shortlisted in 2016 for her debut novel Friend Request, which was recently listed in the Sunday Times’ Top 10 Bestsellers list. Frances Maynard was also shortlisted in 2016 and has since published The Seven Imperfect Rules of Elvira Carr. Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott’s Swan Song was shortlisted in 2015 before being acquired by Hutchinson last October in a six-figure pre-empt and will be published in the UK next month.

Full details of the Prize can be found here.

 - ENDS -

About Lucy Cavendish

Lucy Cavendish is the only women's college in Europe exclusively for students aged 21 or over, and a unique part of the University of Cambridge. Its undergraduate and postgraduate students 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, Law, Veterinary Medicine, Psychology, the Social Sciences and English.

Contact information:

Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge – Kate Coghlan, 01223 768426,

< Back to News