My name is Simon Kerr. I’m guest-blogging for Alessandro today to draw the attention of aspiring authors to First Chapter. Alessandro is one of the three judges and expert mentors on the Lightship International First Chapter Competition. The other two judge-mentors are literary agent Simon Trewin and award-winning author Tibor Fischer. These three professionals are the sort of industry contacts that any aspiring author would kill to have in their email address book, and I’m really grateful for their support!
Like a lot of writers I tend to spend a lot of time in coffee shops, trying to think as I drink. The idea
for First Chapter occurred to me after my second Café Nero Grande Americano. I take three shots of espresso in my coffees, so it was a six-shooter head-rush. I conceived First Chapter as a writing competition – as a means of quality control, and a way of funding the scheme. I wanted the prize to be every writer’s dream: expert mentoring for a year by an awarding-winning author, a literary agent and a publisher. At the end of the mentoring process, if the winner has finished a novel that is as enthralling as their first chapter, I wanted the agent to sign them and the publisher to publish them, using First Chapter as a publicity platform to launch the debut novel into the market.
First Chapter is not the only international literary competition that the Lightship is running in 2010-11 – there’s a short story competition with a £1,000 first prize to be judged by Toby Litt, a poetry competition with a £1,000 first prize judged by Jackie Kay, and a flash fiction with a £500 first prize judged by Kachi A. Ozumba. We have some very distinguished patrons supporting Lightship: Christopher Reid (Costa Book Award Winner 2009), Sir Andrew Motion (former Poet Laureate), Lindsay Clarke (Whitbread Fiction Prize Winner 1989), and Hilary Mantel (Man Booker Prize Winner 2009). For more information or to enter the competitions please visit: