Escalator Literature Fiction Winners - 2012/13

Looking For The Best New Genre Fiction Writing Talent? The Escalator Literature Winners 2012/13

Style, originality and vision: this year's talented crop of Escalator winners has it all! - Judge and mentor, Michelle Spring

Meet ten talented genre fiction writers from the East region. Back in 2012 they all won a place on the Escalator Literature scheme and took part in a year of professional development and mentoring. Next up they will be reading at a showcase event in London in October 2013.

Selected by our judges and mentors - Tobias Hill, Natasha Cooper, Cathi Unsworth, David Rain and Michelle Spring - from over 150 applications, this year’s prize was for writers of genre fiction or inventive mash-ups of genre. 

Many past Escalator Literature winners have gone on to find agents and get published, with writers including Fraser Grace, Helen Ivory, Susan Sellers, Guy Saville and Nicola Upson all graduates of the scheme. We're just as confident that this year's winners will continue the success story.

Do browse our winners’ biogs and extracts below – these writers show exceptional promise and we're excited to see how they develop.

If you would like to contact us about getting in touch with a writer, please email

2012/13 Escalator Genre Fiction Winners

Megan Bradbury
Megan Bradbury has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. In 2012 she won the Charles Pick Fellowship at the UEA. In 2013 she was awarded a Grant for the Arts to work on her first novel, Glass Satellites

Glass Satellites documents the cultural development of New York City through the lives and work of four major figures from the city’s history - the writer Edmund White, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, urban planner Robert Moses and poet Walt Whitman.

A further sample of her work can be viewed on New Writing.
Read an extract from Glass Satellites online.
Download an extract from Megan’s novel: Word doc | PDF doc

Jonathan Curran
Originally from Rochdale, I spent my formative years in West Africa, the Middle East and Suffolk. After leaving university, I worked in the magazine industry for about five years before following the dotcom boom into IT. I now live in Norwich with my wife and two lovely daughters. I have had a couple of stories published in the now-defunct Inferno magazine, and was one of the co-founders of the community blog “This Low-Carbon Life”, writing on environmental and community themes.  I am working on my first novel, The House of Wisdom, set in 13th Century Baghdad.

I can be followed on twitter at @jaysaulc
Read an extract from The House of Wisdom online.
Download an extract from The House of Wisdom: Word doc | PDF doc

Sue Healy
From Ireland via Hungary but currently living in the U.K., I find both my homeland and Hungary mesmerising theatres, forming the backdrop of my novel, The Hole in the Moon.

I graduated from UEA’s MA in Creative Writing. My short stories and drama have won the Molly Keane Memorial Award, the HISSAC Prize, the Sussex Playwrights’ Prize, the Meridian Prize, the Waterford-Annaghmakerrig Award and the Ted O’Regan Arts Award. I have also been short-listed for the Fish Short Story Competition, and the BBC International Playwriting Award, amongst fourteen other prizes and my prose has been published in seven literary publications. My BAI funded radio drama ‘Cow’ was broadcast earlier this year and my radio drama series ‘The Daffodil’ will be broadcast in 2014. My screenplay adaptation of ‘The Hole in the Moon’ has been selected for Write2Screen’s Scripit HotHouse. I currently teach creative writing at a Norfolk prison.
Download an extract from The Hole in the Moon: Word doc | PDF doc

Kyra Karmiloff

Half-English, half-Russian, I did most of my growing up in London. After completing my degrees at UCL, I set up as a freelance writer and researcher, mainly in the field of Language and Child Development, while continuing to dedicate as much time as possible to my fiction. I am the author of three non-fiction books and have had many articles published in magazines and online. I live in Fen Ditton with my boys, and I now make a living writing film treatments and researching new material, while continuing to pursue my novelist ambitions.

The Witchfinder’s Lover is a coming-of-age story of two siblings growing up in Cambridge during the turbulent years of the Civil War, whose lives are transformed by the arrival of Matthew Hopkins, the man responsible for mounting the deadliest witch-hunt in British history.

Visit Kyra's blog.
Read an extract from The Witchfinder's Lover online
Download an extract from The Witchfinder’s Lover: Word doc | PDF doc

Ian Madden
My short fiction has appeared in the Edinburgh Review and several anthologies including the Bridport Prize. In 2010 I was awarded first prize in By Invitation Only: A Collection of Short Stories published to celebrate the inaugural National Short Story Week. My most recent work can be found in the March 2013 issue of Wasafiri.

I am currently working on a historical novel, The Second Mr Booth. The story is narrated by Sophia Booth, the ex-Margate landlady who lived with JMW Turner in a cottage by the Thames for the last six years of his life. Sophia tells of the part she played in keeping secret the identity of the celebrated man who – on the run from his fame – was content to be known as her ‘husband’ or ‘the second Mr Booth’.

Read an extract from The Second Mr Booth online
Download an extract from The Second Mr Booth: Word doc | PDF doc

Mary Nathan
I work in educational publishing as a freelance editor and writer, and I’ve written more than 20 books for pupils and teachers. I was on the programming committee for Cambridge Wordfest until leaving in 2011 to concentrate on my fiction. For the last year, I have been a member of Angles writers’ workshop, which meets once a week during term-time to critique one another's writing.

I am currently working on a novel, 23 Maudlyn Street. Set in the eighteenth century, it tells the story of the mysteries within a doctor’s house in Cambridge. It’s a gothic tale, and I love exploring what’s public and private, what we can see and what we think we can, what we know and what we think we know.
Download an extract from 23 Maudlyn Street: Word doc | PDF doc

Meghan Purvis
I’m originally from California, but moved to England in 2005 to attend the University of East Anglia’s M.A. programme for Creative Writing in poetry. I recently completed my Ph.D., also at UEA, in creative/critical writing. My poetry has appeared in The Rialto, Magma, and The Frogmore Papers, among others. 'The Collar', an excerpt from my translation of Beowulf, won the 2011 Times Stephen Spender Prize in literary translation; the entire translation will be published later this year by Penned in the Margins. After spending a few years with the Anglo-Saxons I decided my work wasn’t quite niche enough, so I started work on a historical supernatural thriller. The Wages of Dying is the story of a young bootlegger in Prohibition-era America who discovers that her blood is poisonous to vampires, and is my first novel.

Read an extract from The Wages of Dying
Download an extract from The Wages of Dying: Word doc | PDF doc

Linda Spurr
I have been fortunate to enjoy a thirty-year career as a sports journalist, first with local and regional newspapers and then on the radio with the BBC World Service. In more recent years, I have taught creative writing in the Rickmansworth area and am constantly motivated by the enthusiasm and creativity of all my students.

Nashwa has enjoyed a privileged childhood – roaming free in the frankincense groves and sharing her brothers’ lessons. When it is time for her to be married, she wants nothing to do with the restrictions of being a wife. But her plan to escape her wedding fails and her husband shows his true colours. She is sent to live in his harem and is only allowed to take her rightful place in his household once she is pregnant. Frankincense tells the story of Nashwa’s fight against the customs and mores of her culture, her expertise with the most valuable commodity of the time and how she finally discovers what it truly important to her.  

Read and extract from Frankincense online.
Download an extract from Frankincense: Word doc | PDF doc

Lynsey White
I was six when I first fell in love with writing, eleven when I wrote my first novel (which, thankfully, remains unpublished) and seventeen when I made it into print with a poem in The Rialto. In 2002 I won the Bridport Prize for short stories and a Canongate Prize for New Writing. My work has been taught on a creative writing syllabus at Birkbeck College and translated into Braille by the RNIB (alongside stories by the rather better-known Robert Harris and Agatha Christie). After a spell presenting arts shows on local radio I moved into Adult Education, where I currently teach short story writing. I’m also a travelling piano teacher, a nonfiction copywriter and, occasionally, an editor. Most recently I was shortlisted for the 2011 Fish Short Story Prize. My novel-in-progress is Madder Hall: a playful take on the haunted house genre, set in the 1980s. 

Follow me on twitter @LynseyAnneWhite
Read an extract from Madder Hall online.
Download an extract from Madder Hall: Word doc | PDF doc

L.E. Yates
I was born in Manchester in 1981 but have lived in Norwich since I came to do the Creative Writing MA at UEA in 2005. Since then my short stories have appeared in a range of anthologies from Parenthesis to Tessellate.

Despite the reluctance of  librarians to trust original eighteenth century manuscripts to someone who appears to be a small Northern boy, I love burrowing in archives to discover lacunae and oddities in the historical record to fuel my writing. My work  resurrects the lives of rogues, criminals and deviants who twisted the world to fit their own purposes – a little like my own attitude to historical fiction.

My first novel, From the Mountains Descended Night, explores one of the biggest literary scandals of the eighteenth century – the notorious forger James Macpherson and The Poems of Ossian.  

My twitter account is @l_e_yates
Download an extract from From the Mountains Descended Night : Word doc | PDF doc

Commended Writers

Jan Casey
My Irish/English family immigrated to California where I received all of my compulsory education.  During that time, my career ambitions were centred on writing. However, it was not until 2007, when I was accepted on the MA course in Creative Writing at ARU, that I began to take those nagging childhood aspirations seriously again.  The course, along with voluntary redundancy from my job as an Advisory Teacher for Traveller Education, gave me the opportunity to concentrate on writing.

In the United States, I studied the rich tradition of the American short story and considered my writing strengths to be within that form.  Then I heard the urban myth about the women who rebuilt Waterloo Bridge during World War II and became fascinated by the story and its lack of recognition.  I decided on this subject for my first novel and completed the project in 2012.

Download an extract from The Ladies of Waterloo Bridge: Word doc | PDF doc

Tim Clare
I'm a writer, stand-up poet and musician. As a poet, I have toured two solo shows worldwide, Death Drive ('the most compelling solo performance on the Fringe' - What's On Stage) and How To Be A Leader, which won a Best Show award at the Brighton Fringe ('a wild-eyed, brilliant hour' - the Independent). I have performed my work on BBC2, C4, and Radio 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6. My memoir We Can't All Be Astronauts was published by Ebury Press and won Best Biography/Memoir at the East Anglian Book Awards. My first poetry collection, Pub Stuntman, has just been published by Nasty Little Press.

I'm very flattered to have been commended by Escalator Literature. It's a nice acknowledgement of the work I've put in to the novel so far, and a great motivator for all the work still left to do! I love quality genre fiction, and Escalator is a much-needed boost for those of us who believe that it's possible to combine quality of language with a thumping good read.

Download an extract from Guns and Burning Things: Word doc | PDF doc

Alex Crisp
I grew up in the rural East Midlands. But after the girl of my dreams appeared to me in a film I travelled out to Israel with an old camera, to look for love and inspiration. I found both, as well as war and hepatitis. Some years later, after finishing a BA in Writing and Publishing, I left the UK again and headed to Taiwan just in time to experience the 1999 Earthquake. I stayed on and taught English for a while before moving on to Korea and then to Ireland and finally London.  However, in 2010, after managing to keep my head slightly above water for about as long as I could manage, I left London and stumbled, for no particular reason, into East Anglia. It was here, surrounded by fields and sheep that I tried writing, properly.    

Download an extract from Tell Tale Tit:  Word doc | PDF doc

Why is Escalator Literature a Unique Writing Competition?

This Arts Council funded initiative has been running for seven years, each year focusing on a different genre, or stage of development. The writers do not just win a cash prize, but will embark on a year-long programme of support covering training, mentoring, assistance with Grants for the Arts funding, and an opportunity to showcase work and meet agents and publishers.

To be the first to find out about next year’s competition, sign up for our e-newsletter.

Alternatively, read on/scroll down to find out more about the 2011/12 Escalator winners.


Escalator Literature Novel Writing Competition Winners - 2011/12

The 2011/12 Escalator Literature scheme was open to talented, unpublished novel writers. We ended up with ten fantastic writers who progressed beyond our expectations, culminating in a wonderful showcase event at Foyles Bookshop in London. 

If you would like to contact us about getting in touch with a writer, please email:

Rebecca Atkinson
I am a freelance writer and journalist. I have previously written articles and short stories for publications including The Guardian, Weekend, Vogue and Marie Claire. I have written scripts for BBC television, two half hour screenplays produced by Mutt and Jeff productions for the Community Channel and a stage play for Deafinately Theatre, at Soho Theatre.

I am currently working on my novel Collecting Faces - a story of love and sight loss in London, based on my former Guardian Weekend column, 'Losing Sight, Still Looking'. 

Download an extract from Collecting Faces: Word doc | PDF doc

Elaine Bishop
I grew up in Coventry and trained as a journalist after leaving school. In 1989, I became Group Editor of Mid-Anglia Newspapers; the company’s first female editor and, at 25, its youngest.  I have a first class honours degree in Writing and English and in November 2011 graduated with Distinction from the Creative Writing MA programme at Anglia Ruskin University. I have been writing a collection of short stories and am currently working on my first novel. I live near Cambridge with my husband and our three children.

Download an extract fromBetween the Lies : Word doc | PDF doc

Armando Celayo
Though my folks are from Mexico, I was born and raised in Oklahoma. I moved to England to attend the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia, where I earned a Distinction and the Prose Fiction MA Prize. My work has appeared in PEN International, World Literature Today, and Huizache. 

For the Recovery of Lost Things is about people sacrificing themselves for others, and sacrificing others for themselves, and how they live in the wake of those unforgiveable decisions. Spanning from the 1960s to the 2030s, from northern Mexico to the American Great Plains to East Anglia, my novel explores the immigrant experience—its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

Download an extract from Satan Beating His Wife: Word doc | PDF doc

Guinevere Glasfurd-Brown
I am from the north of England and moved south with my baby daughter in 2001. I now live on the edge of the Fens, near Cambridge. Last year, I graduated with a Distinction from the MA Creative Writing, Anglia Ruskin University. My stories have appeared in Mslexia and The Scotsman, and in a collection published by the National Galleries of Scotland. In 2011, I completed a writing programme with Faber Academy, London, tutored by the novelist, Louise Doughty. I am currently working on my first novel, X Y Z, a novel about love, death and mathematics set in the 17thC Dutch Republic. X Y Z  tells the story of Helena Jans Van der Strom and the unseen relationship she had with René Descartes. I can be followed on twitter at @guingb 

Read X Y Z online.
Download an extract from X Y Z: Word doc | PDF doc

BTI Larsson
I’m originally Swedish and Icelandic, but I was raised trilingual and moved between Scandinavia and the U.S. nine times in my youth. As an adult, I added Scotland and England to the mix. Professionally, I’ve spent my time working with at-risk and offending youth as an ESL teacher, a conflict mediator, an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, and a PhD researcher. In 2009, I was awarded the Charles Pick Fellowship at the University of East Anglia, which permitted me to focus on my fiction full time for a while. I’m currently finishing a novel set in northern Sweden about the murder of a young boy and the children in his class, narrated by the boy’s schoolteacher.
Download an extract from Last Monsters (working title)

Download an extract from the woods: Word doc | PDF doc

K.J. Packer
My mother is Trinidadian and my father is a Dorset man, but for some reason they brought me up in Hertfordshire. I have since lived in Northern Germany, East London, the West Highlands, New Zealand, and Norfolk. 
I’ve survived by various means, including as a cycle-courier and whelk picker. I now make a living as a plumber, running a very small nightclub, and setting fire to things. An ex-squatter, traveller and raver, I am yet to come out that I write for pleasure – a passion I have quietly pursued through it all.
The novel I am currently writing is Ring Master, about a young girl growing up in a Victorian travelling fair, who becomes a high rope walker and eventually crosses the River Thames.
I write in a derelict caravan in a meadow not far from the sea – and I also love swimming, cycling and barn owls.

Download an extract from Ring Master: Word doc | PDF doc

Teresa Rogers
I was born, bred and educated in Norfolk. I think my family were probably deposited here during the last glaciation. I have worked in shops, delivered the mail and ridden shotgun on a mobile library. I am currently employed in horticulture. About five years ago I found that writing was a compulsion I could no longer ignore. At that point, enthusiastic and clueless, I started a novel. When the isolation began to get to me, I enrolled on a diploma course at the UEA and learned some hard but valuable lessons by exposing my work to others for the first time. I am currently writing my second book which is, I’m sure no one will be surprised to learn, set in Norfolk. Although perhaps not Norfolk as you think you know it…

Download an extract from A Present from Shypden: Word doc | PDF doc

Erin Soros
My work travels between creative writing, academic research and community advocacy.  I grew up in Vancouver, where I was a rape crisis counsellor and a coordinator of literacy programs for marginalized youth.  Collaborative projects with First Nations elders prompted an interest in my own oral history, and I began recording the life stories of retired loggers up and down the BC coast.  This history inspired a turn toward fiction:  I moved to New York to complete an MFA in Writing at Columbia University, where I designed and taught courses that explored philosophy in relation to social justice.  I am now pursuing a PhD at the UEA, teaching human rights, psychoanalysis, and literature while analyzing the testimony of collective and individual trauma.  

My fiction and non-fiction have been published in international journals and anthologies, most recently in West Coast Line, in a special issue devoted to Canadian fiction. Stories have also been aired on the CBC and BBC—as a finalist for the BBC Short Story Award and as winner of the CBC Literary Award and the Commonwealth Prize for the Short Story.  My novel-in-progress, Hook Tender, is set in an immigrant logging camp during the Second World War.  A collection of prose and photographs, Morning is Vertical, is forthcoming in 2012 from Rufus Books.  

Download an extract from Hook Tender: Word doc | PDF doc

Shereen Tadros
I started making up stories before I could hold a pen and have never stopped. After an adolescence spent writing embarrassing poetry, I spent several years concentrating on my medical career. I now work as a doctor at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, where I spend far too much time being terrified by the resident clowns. Over the last year (in response to a dare), I have been busy rekindling my love of telling stories and so I feel very excited to be able to take part in the Escalator scheme this year. I am currently working on my first novel, which follows a young boy growing up in Alexandria in the 1950s, around the time of what has now become known as the first Egyptian Revolution.
Download an extract from This Broken Reed: Word doc | PDF doc

Kate Worsley
I was born in Lancashire, studied English at UCL, and worked for many years in London as a national newspaper and magazine journalist, writing a non-fiction book for Conran Octopus along the way. When I moved to the east coast I started to write fiction. In 2008, soon after my third child was born, I started City University’s MA Fiction (Novels) and was lucky enough to secure Sarah Waters as my personal tutor. Having finished my first novel SHE RISES last year  – a transgressive 18th-century adventure – I am now represented by Véronique Baxter at David Higham Associates and at work on my second novel FOXASH, which is set on a 1930s land settlement. 

Download an extract from She Rises: Word doc | PDF doc