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York postgraduate wins publishing prize as 'Next Great Novelist'

Posted on 9 May 2012

York postgraduate student Sophie Coulombeau beat strong competition from other talented authors under the age of 30 to win Route’s Next Great Novelist Award.

Sophie Coulombeau

Sophie, a PhD student in the Department of English and Related Literature, said, “This is an incredible opportunity for a young writer in an industry that is notoriously hard to crack.”

Rebecca Pedley, a third year English and Linguistics student, also won a place on a mentoring programme for editors and helped bring Sophie’s novel to publication.

Rites tells the story of four teenagers who make a pact to lose their virginity. Ten years on, they look back on the events and unravel how it all went horribly wrong. Philip Pullman described the novel as, “Terrific. A story that’s intriguing, puzzling and entirely gripping.”

Rites is published by Route on 25 June. A launch event will be held at Waterstones, York on 16 June at 6.30pm, and Sophie will be taking part in New Writers’ Day at the York Festival of Ideas. Visit for details.

See also the University of York press release.