2017 Judge: Richard Pike, literary agent at Curtis Brown

Prize: £1,000

Special prize: free place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre for the best novel by an author from the UK and Ireland



It’s with great pleasure that we can announce the shortlisted titles for the Caledonia Novel Award 2017. There were some outstanding novels on the longlist, and the judges were very impressed with the quality and diversity of the submissions that they read.

From the longlist, we have chosen two adult and four YA entries. These six novels take the reader from 18th-Century New York to Australia in the near future, from a search for family secrets in Spain to honouring a shocking last request, and from murder in the Scottish Highlands to beekeeping in New Zealand.

Congratulations to our shortlistees, who will have their novels judged by Richard Pike, literary agent at Curtis Brown. As the judging process is completely anonymous, we will not be revealing the names of the shortlisted authors until the final winner is announced on 27 February, 2017.

This year’s shortlisted titles are:


Colour Me In

Human Geography

Run-Off Season

Sea Change

Take Flight

Yet Wilderness Grew in My Heart


The winner will be announced on 27 February, 2017.



Here at The Caledonia Novel Award, we are really keen to nurture undiscovered talent and encourage new writers. With this in mind, we are very excited to announce an additional prize for this year’s competition. We are offering a special prize for the best novel submitted by an author from the UK and Ireland. This new prize is a free place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre, situated in the Scottish Highlands, just 14 miles from Inverness. The winner will be able to choose from a selection of week-long residential courses taking place there in 2017. Details of the 2016 courses, and further information about this excellent resource, can be found at http://www.moniackmhor.org.uk.

Moniack Mhor is Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre. The centre runs residential creative writing courses and partnership courses throughout the year for adults and young people at all stages of their writing career. Courses are tutored by established writers, with a mid-week visit fromm2-8-1m a guest writer, and cover many different genres. Moniack Mhor also runs one-off events for writers, outreach workshops, awards and a fellowship. High on a hill close to Loch Ness, the centre is an inspirational and nurturing setting for writers to spend an intensive period focussing on their work.

Many thanks to Moniack Mhor for their participation!



Sophie Cameron’s Week at Moniack Mhor

Earlier this year, I was runner-up in Moniack Mhor’s Emerging Writer Award and was very kindly given some money towards one of their excellent writing courses. I chose Writing YA Fiction, a week-long retreat led by Cat Clarke and Martyn Bedford, and last week spent an awesome week in the Highlands, reading, editing, walking, talking books and, of course, doing lots of writing! (Also eating large quantities of cake. Seriously, there was so much cake.)

The centre is near Inverness, just 30 minutes or so from where I’m from, and is set in two cosy cottages surrounded by fields of heather and heilan coos. It’s very remote, wonderfully peaceful and has really incredible views – postcard-perfect Scotland, really. It used to be part of Arvon but is now independent, though the structure of the courses is much the same: we arrived on Monday night, got settled in, had dinner, did a slightly wine-fuelled writing exercise as an ice breaker, then got stuck into workshops the next morning.

Martyn and Cat alternated their workshops and focused on aspects of writing such as character, setting, etc. All the sessions flew by and were really fun – I never use prompts or do writing exercises at home, and it always amazes me how much you can create so quickly, and how people will produce such different stories from the same starting point.

In the afternoons, we had free time to write, read, walk or relax, as well as two one-to-ones with each of the tutors. I’m now on the second round of edits for my first novel, so I did a bit of that, but I made some progress with what I’m hoping will be my second and also carried on a few exercises from the morning workshops, just for fun. Getting feedback from Cat and Martyn, both of whom are brilliant and have tons of experience, on the first chapter of my new WIP was also really helpful and so encouraging. I was starting to worry it was a bit convoluted or just generally a bit rubbish, but I came home feeling much more confident in the idea and determined to finish it.

Most Moniack courses have a guest speaker, who comes for dinner on Wednesday night and then reads from their work. Ours was Anne Fine, and she was hilarious – full of writery gossip, very honest views on publishing, and stories about book tours and blood-spattered vans. On Friday, we all read out something we’d written either during or prior to the course. There were nine of us in total, all with different tastes and styles, so it was interesting to hear so much variety – everything from high fantasy to gritty contemporary. Our taste in literature was also quite different (very different in some cases – The Perks of Being a Wallflower was described, to my horror, as ‘utter drivel’. Sacrilège!) but it was great to meet such nice, like-minded people and to have so much bookish chat. I came home having bought three books and doubled my TBR list about four times over. All in all, it was a really great week in a gorgeous, inspiring place, and I came home feeling very inspired and refreshed. I can’t wait to go back!

Keep an eye on Moniack Mhor’s website for news of awards and bursaries. The Caledonia Novel Award is also offering a place on a course for a writer from the UK or Ireland as part of their international prize, so it’s well worth entering if you have a full-length YA or adult novel.

Sophie Cameron was shortlisted for the 2016 Caledonia Novel Award for Out of the Blue.

It has never been less than a fascinating and thoroughly absorbing experience.Kathryn Ross of
Fraser Ross Associates Literary Agency, 2016 Shortlist Judge

Unpublished authors, put this contest on your submissions list. Wonderfully run!Andrea Crossley Spencer, 2016 winner for The Promise of Water

“Thrilled when I saw the amount of international writers on the shortlist, and the calibre of their work.”   Lucy Van Smit, 2016 shortlistee for Hurts So Good

Thankyou for managing this award. I’m really pleased to be in such great company. And it’s fab to get such encouraging feedback.Kate Tregaskis, 2016 shortlistee for Zoo

Well done Caledonia Novel Award! Given the quality of extracts from the shortlisted novels, I am even prouder to have made the longlist!Martin Gilbert, 2016 longlistee for A Shadow in the Blood