Heather McRobie, 22, is studying History and Politics at Keble College, Oxford. The Maia Press is delighted to announce that Heather McRobie has won first place in the 2007 Hélène du Coudray prize. The prize was awarded on Saturday 28 April as part of the Lady Margaret Hall Literary Festival at the University of Oxford.

Heather, aged 22, is a student at Keble College, Oxford, where she is reading History and Politics. Her novel Psalm 119 will be published by The Maia Press on 24th July 2008. Maggie Hamand, director of Maia, said: 'We are thrilled to be working with this talented young writer and hope this early success will launch a successful career.'

Fay Weldon and Tobias Hill awarding Heather McRobie the Hélène du Coudray Prize
Tobias Hill praised the winning entry for its originality and insight. 'I began Psalm 119 late one night, and my first realisation, as I read, was that I was no longer tired: my second was that I would not be going to bed until the novel was good and ready to let me go.'

Fay Weldon commented on the high standard of the writing, saying that all five shortlisted novels were well-written and highly enjoyable. Of Heather McRobie she said: 'An inborn literary skill, a deftness of language, a roving and enquiring mind, the literal and the metaphorical working in tandem - equally at home with the known and the so far unknown - and funny with it - if she keeps it up she'll take her place among the best in the land.'

The shortlisted entrants and judges on the steps of LMH.    
The winning novel was selected from a shortlist of the 25 complete novels submitted by students at universities all over the country. Runners-up were Edmund Caldecott of the University of Bristol with The Curious Wisdom of Compassion and Claire Lewis from Cumbria Institute for the Arts with The Dinosaur Room.

The shortlisted entrants were:
  • The Curious Wisdom of Compassion by Edmund Caldecott of Bristol University (3rd year History)
  • No More Chocolate by Chloe Everall of the University of the West of England (2nd year Biological Anthropology)
  • The Dinosaur Room by Claire Lewis of Cumbria Institute of the Arts (3rd year Creative Writing and Film Studies)
  • Psalm 119 by Heather McRobie of Keble College, Oxford (3rd year History and Politics)
  • Hollow Moon by Simon Millea of the University of Hertfordshire (2nd year Philosophy with Creative Writing)

To find out more about the Hélène du Coudray Prize click here.