Impact case study: Hannah Durkan
‘The team at New Writing North were fantastic at guiding me through the very first part of my journey to publication and I was also able to make connections with other writers, which has been a wonderful source of information and support for me throughout the publication process.’
Hachette Children’s Novel Award Winner 2020
The Hachette Children’s Novel Award for debut writers of middle-grade and early teen fiction based in the North of England was first awarded in 2019. The award is a key part of New Writing North’s partnership work with Hachette UK and attracts many exceptional submissions. With their dedication to children’s writing, immense energy and specialist expertise, the team at Hachette UK are wonderful and supportive partners. Hannah’s novel stood out for its originality and imaginative scope, as well as the fluidity and depth of her writing. It was a joy to see Zeina Starborn and the Sky Whale progress from manuscript to finished book, with such a beautiful cover, and incredibly fulfilling to know that readers are now experiencing the extraordinary world Hannah created.
New Writing North gave me the life-changing opportunity to publish my story
“Before I applied to the Northern Writer’s Awards run by New Writing North, I had very little experience with the world of publishing. I knew that I wanted to write books for children and had written a story that I believed in, but I really had no idea how to progress.
Winning the Hachette Children’s Novel Award in 2020 gave me the life-changing opportunity to publish my story with Hachette. Not only did winning the prize secure me a publishing contract, but through the experience I also met my agent, Chloe Seager, at the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency. The team at New Writing North were fantastic at guiding me through the very first part of my journey to publication and I was also able to make connections with other writers, which has been a wonderful source of information and support for me throughout the publication process.
My debut, a middle grade fantasy adventure, Zeina Starborn and the Sky Whale, was published in May 2022 and the sequel is due to be published in July 2023. Without the opportunities and support from New Writing North, this achievement would not have been possible.”
Hannah Durkan, 2022
Hannah Durkan spent her childhood in Warwickshire reading, snail collecting, car-picnicking, story writing, overthinking and covering her parent’s carpet in paint. She moved to Yorkshire for university in 2004 and never left. After studying medicine and gaining a PGCE from the University of Leeds, Hannah now lives in Leeds with her husband and two young children, who have finally given her a legitimate excuse for her enormous collection of children’s books. When she’s not working in a local primary school, she can be found drinking coffee, writing stories, drawing sky whales and making dens. Hannah is a passionate believer in the power of writing to support mental health. Hannah’s debut novel was longlisted for both The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition and The Bath Children’s Novel Award in 2019, before winning the Hachette Children’s Novel Award in 2020.