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Ruth Rendell Judges Stylist's Crime Fiction Competition

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In February, we launched our crime writing competition in conjunction with Faber and Faber to find the best new and unpublished talent in the UK. Now we’re just a week away from revealing our winner.

We had 364 impressive entries and now we’re on the verge of revealing the lucky winner who will collect a £5,000 advance and see their book in print. Each person had to submit 6,000 words of an original crime novel, featuring a female protagonist, along with a plot outline of 300 words and a biography of the central character.

Once all the entries were in, Stylist’s Alix Walker and Faber and Faber’s publishing director Hannah Griffiths and senior editor Angus Cargill locked themselves in a room and read each one before fiercely arguing over a shortlist of seven. This was no easy feat and we were bowled over by the number of brilliantly written and compelling entries.

The shortlist was sent to the judges two weeks ago and the panel, including crime-fiction legend Ruth Rendell (right), Stylist’s editor Lisa Smosarski, Hannah Griffiths and Sue Swift, head of literary acquisitions at Kudos Television (makers of Spooks) met at Stylist HQ.

Debate raged but a winner was picked and we’ll reveal crime fiction’s newest star in next week’s issue. In the meantime, see some of the crime writing trends that emerged from our competition:

  • What’s in a name? More than 30 entries featured someone called Kate.
  • Red hair: Many protagonists had flaming red hair. A symbol of a fiery nature? Or Florence’s influence?
  • Sex trafficking: One of the most frequent crimes in the entries.

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