Writer Joma West was announced as the winner of this year’s Novella Award at a ceremony at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Axis Arts Centre last night.
Joma’s novella Wild was described by judge author, Lucy English, as "an extraordinary piece of writing, full of surprises both in terms of subject matter and technique."
Launched in 2014, each year The Novella Award aims to find the best up-and-coming writer of a short novel and is awarded to a previously unpublished work of fiction, between 20,000-40,000 words in length.
On winning, Joma said: "To be honest, I still can't quite believe it. I am immensely proud. This was a story I thought was so strange that I didn't really see it going anywhere or doing anything, so I'm thrilled that other people took an interest in it and thought it was good enough to publish. That is an amazing and wonderful thing.
"I primarily write science fiction and I'm always interested in how writing about another world or another time can shine a light on how we live and interact with our world and other people right now. This story is a reflection of that. But, most simply, this story was inspired by a word - Wild."
No provenance by Jonathan Flieger, Amphibian by Christina Neuwirth, Ruin by Jacques Tsiantar were also shortlisted for the award.
Joma received a £1,000 cash prize and publication by Sandstone Press. She said: "Sharing my work, a world I've invented and lived in, is something I've dreamed about since I was small. To see that in an actual physical book is wonderful."
A series of short story prizes were also awarded to students and members of the local community at the ceremony, which this year hosted the launch of the Words at Play Festival - an ‘off the page’ celebration of creative writing.
The Novella Award venture is a partnership between Manchester Metropolitan University’s Department of Contemporary Arts, at the Cheshire campus of the University and the Screen School of Liverpool John Moores University. Sandstone Press, Time to Read, and NAWE are all partners of the award and work alongside it to encourage the publication of new writing.
Wild by Joma West is now available to purchase on https://mybooksource.com/wild-pb.html