Introducing our next great novelist… Sophie Coulombeau

27-year-old wins the inaugural Route Young Author Award

Route are delighted to announce that Sophie Coulombeau is the winner of the 2011 Route Author Competition. Her novel provisionally titled Rites beat off strong competition from a group of exceptionally talented authors under the age of 30 to win a publishing contract. The novel will be published next Summer.

Sophie said of the award: ‘I’m over the moon to be selected as the Route Young Author and very grateful to the Arts Council and the team of editors and readers at Route who have given me the opportunity to develop and publish my manuscript. This is an incredible opportunity for a young writer in an industry that is notoriously hard to crack. I’m very excited about the months ahead and the publication of my novel in 2012.’

Sophie was born in London in 1984, and grew up mainly in Manchester. She did her undergraduate degree in English Literature at Trinity College, Oxford, and has done postgraduate research at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of York. She has also worked for the Ministry of Justice and the European Commission’s Organised Crime unit. She currently lives in York.

Her book tells the story of a group of four teenagers who make a pact to lose their virginity away from the watchful eyes of parents and priest. Fifteen years later, they look back on the events and unravel how it all went horribly wrong.

Route Editor Ian Daley said of the award, ‘We are thrilled to be publishing this book and to be working with Sophie. She’s a great talent, with an exciting future in front of her. The book manages to have that rare combination of being both richly complex and a riveting read. The pages simply turn themselves. I’m confident that this is the first of many great books that Sophie will produce.’

The Route Young Author competition was supported by Arts Council England and invited authors aged 18 to 30 to submit manuscripts. Following a rigorous selection procedure, five authors were shortlisted before Sophie was declared the overall winner. The other four shortlisted authors were Sally Ashton, Caroline Hargreaves, Matthew T Potter and Amy Robson.

The award also created mentoring opportunities for two young editors to work on the project. The successful applicants, Victoria Price and Rebecca Pedley, have been instrumental in the selection process and will continue to work with Sophie and see the winning book through to publication.

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