Hélène du Coudray Undergraduate Novel Prize

The Maia Press has run a new competition to find the best novel written by an undergraduate student aged under 25 at a UK university. The competition was supported by The Middlesex University Writing Centre, and Lady Margaret Hall at the University of Oxford. The prize is funded by Arts Council England. The winner of the competition will be published by The Maia Press and the entries were judged by novelists Fay Weldon and Tobias Hill.

The prize has been set up to honour novelist Hélène du Coudray, who won the first competition, in 1927, to find the best novel by an undergraduate at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Her prizewinning novel, Another Country, was reissued by The Maia Press in 2003.

A total of 25 entries were received. From a shortlist of five, the judges chose Psalm 119 by Heather McRobie, a third-year undergraduate at Keble College Oxford. The prize was awarded on Saturday 28 April at a literary festival held at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Psalm 119 will be published by Maia Press in 2008.

The Maia Press hopes to repeat the competition every three years, if funding can be secured.

About the Partners

Middlesex University

In 1990 Middlesex University became the first university in the UK to offer an undergraduate degree in writing and publishing. The Writing Centre has a lively literary scene and a thriving media and communications department. The staff include award-winning novelists, scriptwriters and journalists who continue to practise as professional writers.

Lady Margaret Hall

A college of Oxford University, LMH was founded in 1878 to pioneer education for women in Victorian England. LMH has for many years now been a college for both women and men. Over the past 125 years students have achieved outstanding success in academic life; Hélène du Coudray was a student of English Literature at the College.

About Hélène du Coudray

Hélène du Coudray was born Hélène Heroys in Kiev in 1906 and spent her childhood in St Petersburg. During the First World War she was exiled to Finland and Sweden, before coming to England at the age of thirteen. Another Country, written while she was still a student, was awarded the prize in an open competition to find the best novel by an undergraduate at Oxford or Cambridge. Fluent in several languages, Hélène finally settled in Geneva, where she worked as an interpreter. She was the author of three other novels, including The Witnesses, an epic study of the Russian Revolution. Another Country was republished by the Maia Press in October 2003. More information on it can be found here and you can buy a copy from our orders page.