Canadian writer Emily Utter makes Women's Prize for Fiction Discoveries shortlist

The prize supports aspiring female writers in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The prize supports aspiring female writers in the United Kingdom and Ireland

A woman staring directly into the camera with curly light brown hair.
Emily Utter is the sole Canadian writer shortlisted for the 2023 Women's Prize for Fiction Discoveries. (Chris Henderson/

Canadian writer Emily Utter has been shortlisted for the 2023 Discoveries Prize for her novel-in-progress The Night Room. 

The Discoveries programme is an initiative by the Women's Prize Trust, in partnership with Curtis Brown literary agency, the Curtis Brown Creative writing school and Audible to support aspiring female writers in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Writers could submit up to 10,000 words of a fiction novel-in-progress. 

Utter, who is originally from Hamilton, Ontario and lives in Aberdeen, Scotland had her story The Night Room selected from a total of 3, 000 entries. It is inspired by her time as writer-in-residence at Aberdeen's specialist palliative care hospital, Roxburghe House. 

"I'm overcome with emotion about the whole thing and have been oscillating between moments of pure joy and disbelief. I'm profoundly pleased to have my writing recognised in this way," said Utter in a press release. 

The other five finalists are Louisa Ashton for Build Her with Green, Fiona Campbell for The Wife of Riley, Georgina Charles for Colour Me In, Paige Cowan-Hall for Marooned and Riana Duce for Without a Trace.

This year's finalists were selected by a judging panel comprised of literary agent Lucy Morris, founder and managing director of the Curtis Brown Creative writing school Anna Davis and writers Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Chibundu Onuzo. 

"There is a fabulous range of genres — from speculative fiction to romance — novels set in the past, the recent present and the imagined future, the promise of stories of love, loss, climate, history," said Mosse in a press release. 

The six shortlist finalists will receive a mentoring session with a Curtis Brown agent, a free six-week online course with Curtis Brown Creative and a studio session on writing and recording for audio with Audible. They'll also get a two-week writing development course by Curtis Brown Creative with the ten other writers who were longlisted.

The overall Discoveries Prize winner will be announced on June 1, 2023. They will receive an offer of representation from Curtis Brown and £5,000 ($8,440.90 Cdn). 

One other writer will also be named a "Discoveries Scholar" and will receive a scholarship to attend a three-month Writing Your Novel course with Curtis Brown Creative. 

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