Paul Torday Memorial Prize

Joanne Harris (left) and Lemn Sissay (right) with 2022 Paul Torday Memorial Prize winner Jane Fraser at Southwark Cathedral (photograph © Adrian Pope)
Joanne Harris (left) and Lemn Sissay (right) with 2022 Paul Torday Memorial Prize winner Jane Fraser at Southwark Cathedral (photograph © Adrian Pope)
For a first novel by an author over 60

Paul Torday published his first novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen aged 60. The family have decided to set up this new prize in Torday’s honour, celebrating first novels by authors aged 60 or over.

The winner will receive £3,000, with a set of Paul Torday’s collected works. Runners-up will receive £1,000 and one specially selected Paul Torday novel with a commemorative book plate. The prize is indebted to W & N Fiction for generously providing these books by Paul Torday.

The 2023 Prize is open for submissions until
30 November 2022



  • Deadline for entries: Monday 30 November 2022
  • The novel must have been first published in the UK and Republic of Ireland between 1 September 2021 and 31 August 2022.
  • The novel must be a full length work by a living author. 
  • The book must be in the English language and cannot be a translated work. 
  • The novel must be the author’s first published full length fiction work, but they can have had works published of other lengths or other genres in the past.
  • The author(s) must be aged 60 or over at the date of first print publication of the novel and living at the date of submission. In the event that the author is shortlisted, they will be asked to provide proof of age. 
  • There are no residence or nationality restrictions.
  • We cannot accept books that are only available in e-format or that are self-published or where the author has contributed or paid for the costs of publishing.
  • Submissions must be made by the print publisher. 

For any queries relating to the prize please contact prizes@societyofauthors.org


2022 Paul Torday Prize winner

Winner: Jane Fraser for Advent (Honno: Welsh Women’s Press)

Runner-up: Michael Mallon for The Disciple (Zuleika)

2022 Shortlist

  • Anthony English for Death of a Coast Watcher (Monsoon Books)
  • Yvonne Bailey-Smith for The Day I Fell Off My Island (Myriad Editions)
  • John Fletcher for Wuhan (Head of Zeus)


With thanks, The Paul Torday Memorial Prize Judges:

Mavis Cheek

Mavis Cheek began her career at Editions Alecto working with artists such as David Hockney and Bridget Riley. Later, her novel Pause Between Acts (Bodley Head 1988) won the She/John Menzies First Novel Prize.  Mavis served on PEN, Writers in Prison and Society of Authors committees and for three years judged the McKitterick Prize for Fiction.  She is a Fellow of MacDowell, USA and was the Royal Literature Fund Fellow at Chichester University and the University of Reading.  On a voluntary basis, she ran workshops in HMP Holloway and HMP Erlestoke.  She is the Founder of the Marlborough LitFest which aims to put authorship, rather than celebrity, at the heart of literature festivals. She has published sixteen novels and various short story collections. 

Denise Mina

(c) Neil Mina

Denise Mina is the author of seventeen novels, six graphic novels, three plays, one adaptation of Brecht and a ripped Tesco’s bag full of short stories. She has been a judge for the Woman’s Prize for Fiction as well as serving as a CWA judge, chair of the Glasgow Film Theatre board and The Gordon Burn Prize 2020/2022. She has won a lot of prizes and presents the ‘Literary Road Trip’ series with Frank Skinner for SkyArts.  

She lives and works in Glasgow 

Donald S Murray

 

(c) Luath

Donald S Murray is a Gaelic speaking poet, author, non-fiction writer and occasional dramatist raised in Ness, Isle of Lewis who now lives in Shetland. His first novel ‘As the Women Lay Dreaming’ about the Iolaire disaster of 1st January 1919 won the Paul Torday Memorial Prize for 2020. His latest works are the novel, ‘In a Veil of Mist’ and ‘For the Safety of All – a Story of Scotland’s Lighthouses’. His novel ‘The Call of the Cormorant’ is to be published in October. His poetry pamphlet, ‘Achanalt’ recently won the Callum MacDonald Memorial Award

2022

  • Winner: Jane Fraser for Advent (Honno: Welsh Women’s Press)
  • Runner-up: Michael Mallon for The Disciple (Zuleika)

2021

  • Kathy O’Shaughnessy for In Love with George Eliot (Scribe UK)
  • Runner-up: Karen Raney for All the Water in the World (John Murray, Two Roads)

2020

  • Donald S. Murray for As the Women Lay Dreaming (Saraband) 
  • Runner-up: Gaby Koppel for Reparation (Honno Press)

2019

  • Anne Youngson for Meet Me at the Museum (Doubleday) 
  • Runner-up: Norma MacMaster for Silence Under a Stone (Doubleday Ireland)