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Yorkshire’s Next Great Young Novelist signs translation deal

  • Date: 30 November 2012
  • Area: North
people sitting in a bookshop

Photos from the launch event for Rites by Sophie Coulombeau. Waterstones, York, 16 June 2012. Credit: Ian Daley

Yorkshire writer Sophie Coulombeau is celebrating the signing of a German translation deal for her first novel Rites, first published this summer as part of an initiative to find Yorkshire's Next Great Young Novelist.

Last year, young writers from across the region were encouraged to send the first three chapters of their novels to Yorkshire-based publisher Route, whose editorial team created a shortlist of those with the most gripping openings. The shortlisted writers then submitted the remainder of the work and a judging panel chose a winner after a day of coffee -fuelled discussion.

Sophie Coulombeau's novel was, in the end, the unanimous choice praised for its fearlessness, its warmth and its human treatment of a difficult story. Rites received positive reviews in the national press and now Zurich-based publishers Kein and Aber are the latest to fall under the novel's spell. Negotiations for the novel's English mass market paperback rights are also underway.

Sophie Coulombeau says: 'It's no exaggeration to say that the Route Next Great Novelist Award, funded by Arts Council England, has changed my life. Thanks to the award I have published my first novel, benefited from sensitive editing and encouragement from my publisher, signed up with an excellent literary agent and acquired the confidence to start a second novel and a play. And now I can look forward to the special thrill of receiving foreign editions of my work!'

Another short-listed writer from this project Sally Ashton - has gone on to have her novella Controller published by Yorkshire eBook specialists Dead Ink - also an Arts Council-supported business.

Another important aspect of the Next Great Young Yorkshire Novelist project was that young editors were given the chance to get real hands-on experience of the entire editing process from submission to publication. Route recruited two young editors who worked on every aspect of Sophie's book including working on the text, the cover, the launch, the marketing and the sales of rights.

Publishing is a very difficult area for aspiring entrants to gain these skills and the partnership between Route and Arts Council England has equipped some keen editorial talent with the skills to progress in their chosen careers.