A member of Liverpool Hope University’s Creative Campus team is celebrating after winning a prestigious literary competition.
And it’s a win that could pave the way for the publication of her debut novel.
Melissa Grindon is Creative Projects Officer at Hope, having previously studied Dance and English Language at the University.
And this week Melissa was crowned ‘Pulp Idol’ - the victor of a novel writing competition run by Liverpool's longest running writing and literary organisation, Writing on the Wall.
Her novel, Cabbage Babies, will now be read by a host of agents and publishers working in collaboration with Writing on the Wall, aka ‘WoW’.
The first chapter of the book will also be included in WowFest's book of 'Firsts', set to publish this year. It will also be available as an eBook on all major online outlets, with a copy sent out to agents and publishers across the country.
Northern Ireland-native Melissa describes how her novel slots into the historical fiction/young adult genre, and confronts some of the controversial issues surrounding teenage pregnancy and abortion.
She explains: “The narrative focuses on the lives of two schoolgirls in a small-town community in Northern Ireland in the 1980s. It addresses themes of underage and teenage pregnancy, sexual assault, and postpartum psychosis, all taking place during the height of the Troubles.
“It follows Martine, a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl. She goes to a strict all girls Catholic high school, frequently bickering with her best friend Mary-Anne.
“Martine falls pregnant, only a few weeks after dating one of the boys from the other high school in the town. She confides in Mary-Anne, who only belittles her, comparing her to Louise O’Neill, a mentally challenged girl in their school who fell pregnant the year before, and carries round a baby made of cabbages. Louise’s baby’s whereabouts is unknown, and the father a mystery.
“Martine forms an unlikely connection with Louise, as she tries desperately to figure out what to do. Abortion is illegal, and she is petrified she will be condemned by her community if anyone finds out.”
Describing the Pulp Idol win, Melissa adds: “Winning the competition essentially means that you get your work sent out to publishers, with the potential of a book deal a tantalising reality.
“It’s terrifying stuff, but also very exciting!”
The judging panel for Pulp Idol consisted of Kevin Duffy, Co-Founder of the award-winning Blue Moose Books, Yvonne Battle-Felton, Award winning author, Laura Jones, Interim Publisher of Dead Ink Books and Genevieve Pegg, Publishing Director of Harper North.