Rites Officially Released

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Today is the official release day for Sophie Coulombeau’s Rites, winner of our Next Great Novelist Award.

‘When I was fourteen I did something terrible. At least, that’s what some people tell me.’

Four teenagers make a pact to lose their virginity away from the watchful eyes of parents and priest. Fifteen years later, they reflect on the past and unravel how it all went so horribly wrong.

‘Terrific. A story that’s intriguing, puzzling and entirely gripping.’ – Philip Pullman

‘Original and gripping, this novel stands out from the crowd. I’m sure Sophie Coulombeau is destined to become a literary star of the future.’ – Sophie Hannah

‘Rites is a powerful read that has you questioning the wisdom of any adult and the innocence of any child. The story Coulombeau tells is an everyman tale of desire, friendship and betrayal. Behind it is a mind that takes nothing at face value: not love, not desire and not the violence that we are capable of doing to one another.’ – Fiona Shaw

‘A compelling and provocative multi-stranded narrative with a high-concept hook, this is a story told in many voices which is always risky but Coulombeau pulls it off beautifully. In a further challenge to the reader, the novel also comes down on the side of there being no such thing as objective truth when it comes to different people’s memories of the same experience. Coulombeau’s unflinchingly clear-headed analysis of the human psyche is deeply refreshing.’ – Sunday Express

‘There is a a clear-sighted lack of sentimentality about the way Sophie allows her characters to expose themselves through their own words. It is utterly un-put-downable. Don’t even pick it up if you have to get up early for work the next morning.’ – The Press

‘We are the wiser as citizens to have been educated by the writer… Immensely readable and lucid. ’ – Dig

Sophie Coulombeau was brought up in Manchester. She studied at Trinity College, Oxford and the University of Pennsylvania and subsequently worked for the British Civil Service in London and the European Commission in Brussels. She is currently reading for a doctorate in English Literature at the University of York. Rites is her first novel.

Sophie blogs at sophiecoulombeau.wordpress.com

Click here for more details on the book and to order direct from Route

Buy on Amazon : Kindle : Waterstones

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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.

Route Young Author Shortlist

We are pleased to announce the shortlist for the Route Young Author competition.

Controller – Sally Ashton
Rites – Sophie Coulombeau
Frances Andrews – Caroline Hargreaves
Mazungu – Matthew T Potter
Broken Things – Amy Robson

The shortlist decisions were made with the support of two young editors, Victoria Price and Rebecca Pedley, who read through all submissions and were faced with the difficult task of narrowing the selection down to a shortlist of five titles.

Victoria Price: ‘We were inundated with original and inspired ideas, highly sophisticated tales of intrigue, fantastical worlds and explorations of identity with heartbreaking denouements. A wonderful opportunity to be able to hear such unique tales from such talented young voices.’

Rebecca Pedley: ‘It was very difficult to come to a decision about the final five because there were many manuscripts that had such promise.  I am looking forward to the next part of the process, narrowing down the shortlist to our winner. I feel that this will be an even harder decision seen as the final five are so diverse and all have strong storytelling abilities.’

The shortlisted titles will be read by judges over the summer months and a decision on the final winner will be made in late September. The winning book will be published by Route in 2012.

Young Yorkshire Author Update

The submission process for Yorkshire’s Next Great Young Author is now closed. All submissions are currently being read. We plan to announce the shortlist in late July and a winner will be announced in late September. Many thanks to all those who have entered, it looks likely to be a very interesting reading period.

Route is being helped in this process by Victoria Price and Rebecca Pedley, the two successful applicants to our editor training programme.

Young Yorkshire Author Guidelines Open

Submission guidelines for our Young Yorkshire Author opening have been published.

‘As the major London publishing houses close their doors and eyes to unsolicited manuscripts this opening provides a rare opportunity for young unpublished novelists to have their work actually read and considered for publication. I hope it will become an annual event and that other regions will follow its example but, most of all, that it will provide extra motivation and inspiration for young writers in our area.’ David Peace

We are looking for a novel or novella of between 30,000-80,000 words. Authors aged 18-30 who are living in Yorkshire should:

  • Submit a synopsis, a sample text up to 10,000 words plus a brief biography and covering letter
  • The deadline for submissions is 31 May 2011.

Submissions will be assessed by a panel of readers and shortlisted submissions will be requested to send in the full manuscript after the closing date.

The winning entry will be offered a publishing deal and will be supported editorially to turn their manuscript into a published book. This is a genuine open opportunity, thanks to the support of Arts Council England, and we look forward to receiving your submissions

Editorial Opportunity
In addition to the author opportunity, Route are offering a mentoring programme for aspiring editors/publishers. Publishing is not an easy industry to break into, so we are offering a chance for an 18-30 year to gain valuable experience by working alongside Route in this exciting project. The successful applicant will have the relevant drive and desire and will work alongside Route in the selection, editing and publishing process. (Note this is a voluntary position and will not be office based.) Applicants should:

  • Send a CV and covering letter expaning why this opportunity is good for you and for Route
  • The deadline for Editor applications is 31 March 2011.

Full details of both openings and how to submit can be found on the Route website. Click here.

Young Yorkshire Author Opportunity

Route have been supported by Arts Council England, Yorkshire to offer a golden publishing opportunity for a young Yorkshire based author, aged 18-30. Full details of this opportunity, including submission criteria and deadlines will be announced in due course, but for now we just wanted to make the tip-off that it is happening to give writers a head start.

Yorkshire is rich in literary history, punching above its weight with a long line of prominent authors. From Sterne and the Brontes, via Priestly and the angry young men to Joanne Harris and David Peace. But who will write for the next generation and what is their story? Born post deindustrialisation and now third-generation from the mass immigration of the 50s and 60s, contemporary young writers have a rich and varied landscape to draw from.

There will also be an opportunity or two for aspiring young publishers/editors in the region to get involved with the project. Full details will be published here when the full criteria is announced. Please check back.

Yorkshire has a strong network of support for young writers. Information about this support network is gathered on the Young Writers Hub – www.nawe.co.uk/young-writers-hub.html