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The College announced this year’s winner of its prestigious Fiction Prize at the dedicated award ceremony.

*UPDATE, as of December 2024: Sarah Harman's debut novel All The Other Mothers Hate Me will be published in Spring 2025 by 4th Estate Books in the UK after a nine-way British auction, and by Putnam in the US, it has been sold into other eleven territories, and is being adapted for tv by FX.

Sarah Harman has won the 2023 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize.

This year’s prize received once again an exceptional number of entries, totalling 571. Six were shortlisted by a panel chaired by critically acclaimed novelist, Dame Rose Tremain. Returning to the panel were Tim Bates, Head of the Books Department and literary agent at PFD; Jackie Ashley, political journalist, broadcaster and Honorary Fellow of the College; Dr Isobel Maddison, Fellow Emerita of Lucy Cavendish College; Gillian Stern, editor and ghost-writer; Lindsey Traub, Fellow Emerita; and Phoebe Morgan, Crime & Thriller Publisher at Hodder & Stoughton and author of four books published by HarperCollins. Joining the panel for 2023 we had Reeta Chakrabarti, BBC News presenter and correspondent; and Sheena Patel, writer and assistant director for the film and TV industry.

Sarah Harman is a recovering journalist based in London. As a broadcaster, she has over a decade of experience reporting on major breaking news stories around the globe, most recently as a foreign correspondent for NBC News, reporting for Today, Nightly News and MSNBC. Prior to that, Sarah anchored a rolling news broadcast for Deutsche Welle TV in Berlin. Dirtbag Detective is her first attempt at a novel.

Chair of the judging panel, Dame Rose Tremain says, “The judging process was spirited and lengthy but we believe we have found a very exciting winner. Sarah Harman’s voice is waspish, slick and amusing and the story she tells has real pace and grip.  We see a great future for this writer.

Tim Bates adds, “In a bumper year for the Prize, and from within a very good shortlist, Sarah Harman’s novel stood out for the quality and certainty of its voice – stylish, wry, satirical and often very funny. With a compelling and fast-paced plot, Dirtbag is a very worthy winner and I’m sure Sarah has a brilliant career before her.”

Congratulations to Sarah, and to all those selected for this year’s longlist and shortlist.

2023 shortlist

2023 longlist

The Fiction Prize and its authors

Since the Prize’s foundation in 2010, many of our shortlisted authors have been offered agency representation and have gone on to be published, many of their books becoming bestsellers. At Lucy Cavendish College, we are extremely proud to be the starting point in numerous entrants’ success stories, giving them the platform to launch successful and ongoing careers as novelists.

Read more about the successful authors here

About Lucy Cavendish College

Lucy Cavendish College’s mission is to unlock the potential of students from non-traditional and underrepresented backgrounds who are driven by a desire to make a difference and are committed to having a positive and lasting impact on society.

In addition to the main Prize, the College runs several writing prizes for its own students, whose winners were announced at tonight’s ceremony.

Contact information Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge, T: 01223 768426, E:

To find out more about the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize click here.