Conville & Walsh announces Word of Mouth Prize

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The London-based Conville & Walsh literary agency has announced the launch of the Word of Mouth Prize, a new literary prize aimed at discovering talented unpublished novelists.

Founded by Clare Conville and Patrick Walsh in 2000, the agency is a leading international literary agency based in the UK, who represent an eclectic range of best-selling and award-winning authors, including novelists, scientists, historians, travel writers, biographers and children’s authors.


The Word of Mouth Prize aims to uncover the new and unpublished novels which people will talk about, which demand to be shared and which readers simply cannot put down.

The key to what the judges are seeking lies in the prize’s name: novels which linger long in the mind and which readers find themselves recommending to others. That’s an almost undefinable and seemingly magical quality which we nonetheless all recognise – a quality which gives rise to that immediate instinct to email or phone a friend, and say “You must, must read…”

The link between the prize and the agency is that Conville & Walsh has long prided itself on representing novelists who have gone on to become word of mouth phenomena – amongst many other great books, some of the agency’s proudest word-of-mouth successes include The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman, The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer and Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson.

The prize will be judged by the team at Conville & Walsh with the help of two guest judges in the form of Matt Haig, author of The Humans and forthcoming Reasons To Stay Alive, and Sheila O’Reilly who runs Dulwich Books (Independent Bookshop of the Year for the last two years).

“At Conville & Walsh we are passionate about discovering new talent and launching debut authors, as well as nurturing the careers of the writers we represent,” the web site explains. “We’re very proud to be considered one of the most approachable and dynamic agencies in London, a reputation for which we’ve worked hard.

As an agency we always want writers to feel as though they can get their work right under the noses of our agents, which is why we are very excited to announce the inaugural Conville & Walsh Word of Mouth Prize.

The Word of Mouth Prize will focus on novels that people just can’t stop talking about. We’re looking for fiction that is brilliantly written but accessible, has depth but isn’t dense and is innovative but identifiable. We’d love to find novels with that must-read quality, which would be perfect for book club discussions. These are the kind of books that can become a word of mouth phenomenon, and which Conville & Walsh are known for representing.”

• Submissions will open on the 1st November 2014 and will close on the 31st January 2015. For more details, please visit our new Prize page. You can also follow the competition on Twitter @WordMouthPrize | #WordofMouthPrize

Thanks to Matt Badham for the spot


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