Choc Lit and Soundings announce Search for a Star winner

Lucy Nathan
News - Books Monday, 13 May 2019

First prize for debut novel with cat among the cast goes to Chris Penhall

Women's fiction publisher Choc Lit and unabridged audiobook publisher Soundings have announced Chris Penhall (right) as the winner of their Search for a Star novel writing competition, sponsored by Your Cat magazine. The competition is intended to find new talent from writers not previously published or accepted by an agent or publisher, and each story had to contain a cat.

Penhall's novel, The House that Alice Built, is about a woman who starts a new life in the Algarve after going there on holiday following the break-up of her relationship. It will be released in autumn 2019. Penhall, a freelance writer, radio producer, and broadcaster for BBC Essex, has signed a three-book deal with Choc Lit, which signed world rights, and Soundings.

Runner-up Lucy Keeling has also signed a three-book deal with Choc Lit and Soundings. Her novel, Make It Up to You, is a romance about a heroine whose ambition is to become a make-up vlogger, and will be released in early 2020. Both Penhall and Keeling will be featured in Your Cat magazine.

Lyn Vernham, managing director of Choc Lit, said: "Our panel of readers read each and every one of the entries accepted. With standards very high again this year, judging wasn't easy, but the panel and editorial teams have chosen perfectly. We're absolutely delighted to welcome Chris and Lucy aboard."

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