City alumna celebrated for debut novel
From a total 21 entries, Kate was chosen to receive the HWA Debut Crown for her first novel She Rises, a tale of dangerous adventure in an 18th century warship.
The awards were announced at the Harrogate History Festival where all five shortlisted authors took part in the festival's New Blood discussion panel.
Judges awarded the £2,000 prize to the novel they believed to be the best debut historical novel published in the UK this year.
This year's judging panel comprised founding HWA committee members and leading novelists, publishers and journalists.
Kate studied for an MA in Creative Writing (Novels) at City where she was mentored by acclaimed historical novelist Sarah Waters.
"She Rises was the first novel-shaped idea I'd ever had. I enrolled on City's two-year part-time MA in 2008 as a way of making sure I wrote it and wrote it well." said Kate. "I had already written a good chunk before applying for a place but put this to one side for the first year to concentrate on learning the craft of modern novel writing from scratch.
"Course director Jonathan Myerson set me on the right track and persuaded Sarah Waters to mentor me for the second year (the first time she had taken on the role of outside tutor). Her insistence on always putting the reader's needs first, along with much intelligent feedback from Jonathan and my fellow students, meant that nine months after graduation, I was able to send a satisfactory final draft out to agents who had shown interest at our graduate showcase."
Manda Scott, Chair of the HWA Committee and competition judge, said "Kate's novel She Rises stood out for the exceptional power of the voices used in an intricate, carefully balanced dual narrative. Her plotting was original and her use of language was both imaginative and fitting for the time and place. In all respects, it was a magnificent novel to have written at any stage of a writing life, to have written it as a debut novel was genuinely exceptional. Given our remit to sustain and promote historical writing in all its forms, and given the aims of the prize to highlight the best in new historical writing, She Rises was a novel that all the judges could support."
She Rises has also been shortlisted for a number of other awards, including a Lambda Literary Award in the US.