An unpublished novel telling the story of a transgender person in 1980s America has won the 2016 Dundee International Book Prize.
Jessica Thummel’s The Margins was announced as the winner on Thursday afternoon.
The American author, who was born in Kansas and now lives in Denver, has been awarded £5,000, a publishing deal with Freight Books and a week’s protected writing time in Dundee.
Jessica said: “I am thrilled and honoured to have won this year’s Dundee International Book Prize.
“The Margins and its characters have spent the better part of a decade in my mind, so the possibility of them existing in others’ is both surreal and exhilarating. Thank you for this opportunity.”
The coming-of-age novel follows Sam Gavin, a transgender person who moves from Kansas to San Francisco in the summer of 1989.
The prize was judged by broadcaster Shereen Nanjiani, poet Ian McMillan, critic Hannah McGill and publisher Adrian Searle.
Programme manager for Literary Dundee, Peggy Hughes, said: “Jessica Thummel is a worthy winner of the 2016 Dundee International Book Prize. This has been a stellar year for the prize, with tough competition from a very fine shortlist.”
Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee added: “Each year the quantity and quality of entrants goes from strength to strength. I never envy the judges the difficult task they have of choosing just one winner from such a strong field, but every time they manage to select a deserving book to take the title.”
Adrian Searle, publisher at Freight Books, said: “I’m truly delighted to welcome Jessica Thummel’s winning novel to the Freight Books list.
“Emerging from an especially strong pool of entries, the Dundee International Book Prize has once again discovered an essential new voice. The Margins is an extraordinary exciting and timely novel and we’re thrilled to be publishing it next summer.”
Jessica’s book will be published next year.
Also shortlisted were Shadow Jumping by Margaret Ries and London Clay by Amy Spencer.
The Dundee International Book Prize is a collaboration between Dundee University, Freight Books and Dundee City Council’s ‘One City, Many Discoveries’ campaign.