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Stroud author pens writing award

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A Stroud author has won a prestigious writing award.

Rachel Joyce has been announced the winner of the 2021 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, Best Published Novel, Miss Benson’s Beetle (Doubleday).

Miss Benson’s Beetle was selected by judges Jon Coates, Dwayne Fields and Pip Stewart, along with a reader’s vote equating to one seat on the judging panel. The six-strong shortlist from across the globe, comprised two fiction debuts alongside four well-established authors.

Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, The Music Shop and a collection of interlinked short stories, A Snow Garden & Other Stories. Her new novel, Miss Benson’s Beetle, is out now. 

Her books have been translated into thirty-six languages and two are in development for film. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Rachel was awarded the Specsavers National Book Awards ‘New Writer of the Year’ in December 2012 and shortlisted for the ‘UK Author of the Year’ 2014. Rachel has also written over twenty original afternoon plays and adaptations of the classics for BBC Radio 4, including all the Bronte novels. She moved to writing after a long career as an actor, performing leading roles for the RSC, the National Theatre and Cheek by Jowl.

Niso Smith, the founder, said: ‘The novels competing this year have been a beacon in challenging times, all of them portraying human strength. Miss Benson’s Beetle is a joyously humourous and deeply moving novel, which serves as a vital reminder that it’s always possible to make your life what you want it to be. Rachel’s yarn is truly magical and a life-affirming adventure.”

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