Headline Publishing Group, in association with The Future Bookshelf, were delighted to launch Modern Stories in 2022, proudly partnering with a select number of influential book bloggers – The Candid Book Club, Unfolding Pages, LipGlossMaffia and Booked Up and Busy – to find a new voice in crime and thriller fiction.
The inaugural Modern Stories initiative was open to un-agented and previously unpublished writers of commercial fiction from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. On this occasion, the brief was to write a crime or thriller novel about ‘a relationship that isn’t what it seems’. This could have been any kind of relationship – romantic partners, neighbours, friends, work colleagues, family members – and the setting was left up to each individual writer.
The judges were looking for writing in any sub-genre, from psychological or domestic suspense to detective fiction or action thriller, but they wanted a story with a killer hook that captured their attention and made them desperate to read on.
Entrants were asked to submit the first 3,000 words of their novel along with a short synopsis and a one-line pitch or strapline. The synopsis had to include the full plot of the novel with details of the main characters and their journey through the book to give the judges a full sense of where the book was going. The one-line pitch had to sum up what the author’s book was about as succinctly as possible.
Submissions were read by the Headline team to draw up a shortlist of candidates who were asked to provide within four months the complete manuscript for the proposal of the novel they submitted. These were read and considered by the final judging panel, made up of the book bloggers who, together with the Headline editorial team, selected one writer to receive a publishing contract with Headline.
We were really impressed by the standard of writing across the board, which made it a difficult decision. However, we were thrilled to award Tania Tay the winner of Modern Stories 2022 and are delighted to be working with her and her agent to bring her debut novel to publication.
The remaining shortlisted candidates all received a one-to-one mentoring session with a Headline editor.
Headline would like to extend their sincere gratitude to each of the bloggers who partnered with us on this and helped to make our first Modern Stories initiative such a huge success.