Donna Gillespie Novel Excerpt Prize Category
First Prize: $100
Second Prize: $50
Third Prize: $25
Send me the first 20 pages, double-spaced, along with a one-page synopsis. Both unpublished and self-published novels are eligible. I believe an author should create a strong sense of anticipation in the opening pages: convince the reader that the protagonist faces a formidable problem. Your story can begin at once when conflict and environment evolve together. Whether your prose style is lyrical and atmospheric or clear and direct, it’s more powerful when it serves the needs of drama.
DONNA GILLESPIE (San Francisco, CA) is the author of two novels set in first-century Rome: The Light Bearer (Berkley/Putnam) and Lady of the Light (Berkley/Penguin). The Light Bearer was an immediate international bestseller, and received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. The novel was translated into German, Dutch, Russian, Lithuanian, and Italian, and the United Kingdom purchased rights. In 2002, Hallmark Entertainment optioned Light Bearer for a miniseries. Lady of the Light is the second book of a trilogy, and is available in German and Italian as well as English. Gillespie is currently at work on the trilogy’s final volume. In 2018, an independent film company optioned all three novels for a miniseries.
DONNA LEVIN (San Francisco, CA) is the author of the novels, He Could Be Another Bill Gates, There’s More Than One Way Home, and Extraordinary Means. Her nonfiction titles include Get That Novel Written! and Get That Novel Started! Donna is a frequent guest at writers’ conferences, and she led University of California-Berkeley Extension’s Novel Writing Workshop for twenty years. Learn more about Donna at her website.
- First Prize: J. Kay Tolman of Berkeley, CA
“The Compromise: An American Novel”
- Second Prize: Ilana DeBare of Oakland, CA
- Third Prize: Sandra K. Kruse of Verona, WI
“That Which Remains”
2020 Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order)
Karima Alavi of Abiquiu, NM for “Merchant of Color” and “In the Shadow of the Tombs”
Susan Axtman of Fredericksburg, VA for “A Kind of Caring”
Mathias Dubilier of Burlington, VT for “Ithaca”
Francis M. Flavin of Sparks, NV for “The Muse in a Time of Madness”
Christina A. Hoag of Santa Monica, CA for “Between the Lies”
Sarah Collins Honenberger of Tappahannock, VA for “The Song of Silence”