Inaugural award handed out by bestselling author

Cressida Downing with author LJ Ross.
Cressida Downing with author LJ Ross.

The winner of the inaugural Lindisfarne Prize for Debut Crime Fiction has been announced.

Cressida Downing impressed judges with her work, The Roll Bearer’s Daughter, which is set on Holy Island at the turn of the 15th century.

The Lindisfarne Prize for Debut Crime Fiction was launched at the beginning of this year by bestselling crime author LJ Ross, who is from Ponteland.

Its aim was to find and encourage new literary talent, as well as celebrate the North East.

Cressida won £2,500 to support the completion of her work, as well as editorial and mentoring from Cheshire Cat Books and funding towards various industry memberships.

The mother-of-two said: “Until recently I didn’t have any urge to write myself, but a chance visit to Lindisfarne sparked an idea.

“My novel is a murder mystery set in 15th century Lindisfarne Priory.

“My protagonist is a female scribe who is running from her past and confronting danger in her present.”

LJ Ross said: “Cressida’s work stood out because of the originality of her plot, her characters, and unique narrative voice.

“Having read the first chapters submitted for her entry, I genuinely can’t wait to find out what happens next.”

The Lindisfarne Prize was open to new authors who have not had work published and are from, or whose work celebrates, the North East.

They had to submit a short story of not more than 10,000 words, or two chapters, along with a synopsis within the genre of crime or thriller fiction.

Entries for next year’s competition will open again from May and close on March 31, 2020.