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Judges announced for inaugural Paul Torday Prize

Posted on March 11, 2019

Mark Lawson, Kate Mosse and Anita Sethi have been confirmed as the judging panel for the first year of the Paul Torday Memorial Prize for debut novelists over 60.

The prize was announced in 2018 by myself and Nick Torday, sons of novelist Paul Torday (1946-2013) with a message for both to the publishing industry and the public that ‘it truly is never too late to follow your dream’ and to show that ‘writing could be a wonderful second career for many more with a life of well-lived experience to call upon’.

Our father’s own successful writing career only began when he entered semi-retirement and in 2006 published his first best-selling novel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, at the age of 60.

In a statement on the line-up of judges, I said:

We could not think of a better way to remember our father and his literary legacy than with a prize that honours those who, like him, come to writing later in life.

We are both so thrilled that this highly experienced trio of judges, with such a broad range of critical sensibilities and views between them, are now on board to choose an award winning senior debut, and launch the winner on a whole new career at an age when many others are finishing theirs.

Award-winning writer, journalist and broadcaster Anita Sethi said:

I’m delighted to a be a Judge of this important and much-needed prize in its inaugural year, through which we can celebrate that it’s never too late to follow your passion and fulfil your talent – and that sometimes the finest flowers are the latest to bloom.

International best-selling author Kate Mosse said:

I’m delighted to be part of this celebration of older voices.  Storytelling is about the wisdom of years as well as the power of imagination, of character, and I’m hugely looking forward to discovering new voices.

The winner will receive £1,000 plus a set of Paul Torday’s collected works. Runners-up will receive one specially-selected Paul Torday novel with a commemorative book plate.

The inaugural Paul Torday Memorial Prize will be awarded at the 2019 Society of Authors’ Awards ceremony at Southwark Cathedral in June.

About the judges

Mark Lawson

Mark Lawson is a journalist, broadcaster and author. He has published four novels: IdlewildGoing Out LiveEnough Is Enough and The Deaths, and his work as a broadcaster includes BBC Radio 4’s Front RowForeign Bodies – A History of Crime Fiction and BBC4’s Mark Lawson Talks to… He also writes for the Guardian and the New Statesman.

Kate Mosse

Kate Mosse is the author of eight novels & short story collections, three works of non-fiction and four plays. A champion of women’s creativity, she is the Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction – the largest annual celebration of women’s writing in the world – and sits on the Executive Committee of Women of the World. She was awarded an OBE in 2013 for services to literature and women and was named Woman of the Year for her service to the arts in the Everywoman Awards. Her latest No 1 bestseller, The Burning Chambers is out in paperback from 7 March.

Anita Sethi

Anita Sethi is an award-winning writer, journalist and broadcaster who has written for the Guardian, Observer and Sunday Times, among others. She has appeared as a guest panellist and commentator on radio, interviewed leading figures in culture and politics and worked as a columnist, critic and feature writer across the national press, published in anthologies and books including From There to Here, Solstice Shorts, Roads Ahead, and The Book Club Bibleand is currently completing a book.

About Paul Torday

Paul Torday (photograph J C Torday), and reading with his sons, Piers and Nick

Paul Torday (1946 – 2013) was a businessman and author of nine books. His first novel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, was an immediate international bestseller, later made into a film starring Ewan MacGregor and Emily Blunt. His fiction has been translated into twenty-eight languages and won several awards, including the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction.