A Creative Writing Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University has won the Royal Society of Literature Encore Award 2018.
Andrew Michael Hurley was shortlisted along with five other authors for the £10,000 prize with his book Devil’s Day, a gothic novel about family, duty and landscape, set on the atmospheric moors of Lancashire.
It follows on from his debut novel, The Loney, which won the Costa First Novel Award 2015, and went on to be named Debut of the Year and Overall Book of the Year at the British Book Industry Awards in May 2016.
The judges said they were “spellbound”, calling the novel “menacing and masterful” with “an all-consuming sense of the nearness of evil”.
Andrew will share the prize with joint winner Lisa McInerney, who won the award for her second novel, The Blood Miracles.
Chair of the judges, Alex Clark, said: “We simply couldn’t put a cigarette paper between these two splendid novels and wanted to acknowledge and reward them both”.
Andrew joined Manchester Writing School as Lecturer in Creative Writing (Fiction) in 2016.He told the publishers he was honoured to receive the award.
He said: “In many ways, a second novel is a much greater challenge for a writer than the first, so I’m pleased Devil’s Day struck a chord with readers.”
Dr Jess Edwards, Head of the Department of English, added: “We’re very pleased for Andrew. The Encore prize recognises the particular challenge of second novels – rather like the difficulty bands face in following a successful first album. To have met this challenge so successfully is a mark of Andrew’s talent and maturity as a writer.
“Andrew’s writing about the Lancashire landscape, which cultivates a distinctively gothic sense of place, is a great fit for research in English at Manchester Met, where there are strengths in both Creative Writing and Gothic Studies.”
The Royal Society of Literature is the national charity for the advancement of literature. It celebrates and nurtures all that is best in British literature, past and present.
The Encore Award was first presented in 1990 to celebrate the achievement of outstanding second novels. This year’s judges were critic, journalist and broadcaster Alex Clark – the chairman –alongside poet and children’s author Julia Copus and Ted Hodgkinson, Senior Programmer for Literature and Spoken Word at Southbank Centre.
The judges said they were “impressed and delighted by the sheer quality of the submissions – particularly their range of subject matter”. They were also impressed by the “writers’ willingness to innovate and to imagine new ways of telling stories.”