Coveted Scottish book prize goes to American 'coming of age' novel

Jessica Thummel was one of theee shortlisted candidates for the Dundee International Book Prize.
Jessica Thummel was one of theee shortlisted candidates for the Dundee International Book Prize.
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American writer Jessica Thummel has won a major Scottish book prize for debut novelists.

The Kansas-born author has claimed the Dundee International Book Prize, which has been open to authors from all over the world for the last 16 yeas.

She has won £5000 and a deal with Glasgow-based publishers Freight Books with her manuscript for The Margins, a coming-of-age story about a transgender man who moves from the writer’s home city of Kansas to San Francisco in the summer of 1989.

She said: “The Margins and its characters have spent the better part of a decade in my mind, so the possibility of them existing in others’ is both surreal and exhilarating.”

Adrian Searle, publisher at Freight Books, said: “Emerging from an especially strong pool of entries, the Dundee International Book Prize has once again discovered an essential new voice. The Margins is an extraordinary exciting and timely novel and we’re thrilled to be publishing it next summer.”

The winner of the prize - run by Dundee University, Dundee City Council and Freight - was unveiled during the city’s annual literary festival, which the likes of James Kelman, Don Paterson and Liz Lochhead are appearing at.

Scottish writer Margaret Ries and English author Amy Spencer also made the final three.

Festival manager Peggy Hughes said: “This has been a stellar year for the prize, with tough competition from a very fine shortlist.”