Rhiannon Lewis Is First UK Author to Win Faulkner Prize

Welsh author, Rhiannon Lewis, best known for her debut novel My Beautiful Imperial has become the first UK writer to win the prestigious William Faulkner Literary Prize for her new short story.

The win was announced on 25th September from the William Faulkner Library, located at the Union County Heritage Museum in Mississippi. Typically, the prize would have been awarded at a prestigious luncheon with over 200 guests attending to celebrate the world of literature. However, with the current restrictions as a result of COVID-19, the winners of the competition were broadcast live on the Museum’s Facebook page.

Established in 1997 to commemorate the centenary of Faulkner’s death, the prize aims to recognise aspiring talent in the literary world. In particular, the adult short story award aims to reward and recognise the talent of previously unpublished stories of up to 10,000 words.

Lewis’s story, Piano Solo, tells the story of an eccentric Maths teacher whose one aim in life is to perfect Rachmaninov’s notoriously difficult third piano concerto. Taking up writing in 2011, her debut novel My Beautiful Imperial was published by independent publisher Victorina Press in 2017, an indie press committed to publishing inspirational and great books, celebrating diversity in literature. My Beautiful Imperial was named by the Walter Scott Prize Academy as one of its recommended historical novels before being translated and published in Spanish in 2018. Rhiannon Lewis has also had success at other competitions such as Frome Festival, Hammond House, Bristol Prize and The New Welsh Writing Awards. She can now add the prestigious William Faulkner Literary Prize to her resume.

Previous winners of the well-sought after award have come from Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Iran as well as the United States. However, Lewis is the first to take home the award from the UK, making her win a notable achievement for the British literary world.

In celebration of the win, Victorina Press will be publishing an anthology of Lewis’s short stories in 2021. The company’s managing director, Dr Consuelo Rivera-Fuentes says, ‘Becoming the first UK author to win this prestigious, international award is a remarkable achievement and a testament to Lewis’s ability to create memorable stories.’ The win proves that independent publishers are just as important as the bigger houses, producing award-winning, read-worthy work.

If you fancy dipping your toes into an award-winning author, My Beautiful Imperial is available to purchase now from online. If you want to see what other work Indie publisher Victorina Press has published, visit here and to watch the ceremony on the Union County Heritage Museum Facebook page, go here.

Words by Lucy Lillystone

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