English and Scottish Literature

Writing student takes centre stage

Home-grown Winner of the 2013 Edinburgh International Book Festival's First Book Award

Edinburgh author Angela Jackson was today announced as the winner of the 2013 Edinburgh International Book Festival’s First Book Award, sponsored by eBooks by Sainsbury’s, with her debut novel The Emergence of Judy Taylor.

Jackson first read from an early version of her novel at the Book Festival back in 2010, as part of the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature’s Storyshop readings promoting emerging writers, before securing a publishing deal in 2012.

Angela Jackson said “My nascent writing career owes an enormous debt to Edinburgh International Book Festival. I was selected to read at its wonderful Story Shop event for emerging writers in 2010, when The Emergence of Judy Taylor was a work in progress, and again in 2011. The incredible support from Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature and the Book Festival organisers, and the positive audience response, encouraged me to devote more time to writing as did listening to established authors at the Festival discussing their own work. This award is particularly special to me because it’s my first, and it’s from one of my absolute favourite events of the year. I’m extremely grateful to everyone who has bought the book and voted for it, and to the booksellers in Edinburgh and beyond who have championed it. It’s great to know I’m on the right track - that my work is connecting with readers - and it will spur me on to complete my second novel.”

The First Book Award encourages the Book Festival audience to discover the wealth of debut fiction featured in the Festival Programme each year and vote for their favourite. Every one of the 42 adult and young adult writers who brought their debut novel, novella or short stories to Edinburgh in August, including those whose work was published in English for the first time, was eligible for the award.

Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said “Angela gave her first public reading here at the Book Festival in 2010 and appeared again in 2011 in the City of Literature’s Storyshop Programme for unpublished writers. We were delighted to welcome her this year as a fully-fledged and published author, and thrilled that our audience have voted her novel their favourite out of the 42 debut stories in the programme. The First Book Award continues to draw attention to the exciting new writers coming to Edinburgh from around the world but this is a wonderful, home-grown success story.”

Tim Lennox, managing director of prize sponsor eBooks by Sainsbury's added: "Book Festivals like Edinburgh are wonderful places for readers to discover new authors, and it's been a privilege to support a prize dedicated to discovering new writing talent like Angela Jackson. For us the Emergence of Judy Taylor marks another emergence: that of a remarkable new talent in British writing. We're proud to have played a part in recognising Jackson’s potential at the start of what we expect to be a long and distinguished career."

The Emergence of Judy Taylor, published by Constable & Robinson, centres around the eponymous Judy - a woman who decides to stop taking the path of least resistance and start making choices about her life. The book explores the themes of complex relationships, change, loss and what it means to belong to a place. It poses questions about what it means to really live. It’s about patterns and choice. It’s about love and life and sex and starlings. It’s about glimpsing the future and being given a second chance. It’s about the weight of responsibility and the guilt of buoyancy. It’s about what happens in small towns and big cities.

The authors eligible for the 2014 First Book Award will be announced in June 2014. Full details of all nominees for this year’s First Book Award can be found at: