Pat Kavanagh Prize for fiction writer Imogen Fox

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Manchester-based novelist and short story writer Imogen Fox has been named winner of this year’s Pat Kavanagh Prize.

Pat Kavanagh Prize 2022 winner Imogen Fox

Now in its 13th year, the £500 prize was introduced to Goldsmiths, University of London in memory of literary agent Pat Kavanagh, who died in 2008, to honour her commitment to nurturing new talent at the very start of their careers.

An agent for more than 40 years, Kavanagh’s high-profile clients included Tom Wolfe, Joanna Trollope, Robert Harris, John Irving and her husband Julian Barnes. Kavanagh was among the “rebels” who left one of the oldest agencies in the UK to set up United Agents in 2007. 

Each year a longlist of those who gained a distinction in the MA Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths is sent to United Agents with a shortlist and winner selected by a panel.

Imogen Fox’s first focus was novel writing, but she has a newly discovered love for the short story. ‘My Mother Is A Story’ earned her the Sheila Newman Award in 2019.

Imogen holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Cambridge, and since completing her MA in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths, spends her time writing and working as a tutor, specialising in creative writing. She is currently working on her first novel.

Imogen’s submitted piece, titled The Swimming Pool, was described by United Agents’ Seren Adams as “thorny but uplifting”. It follows a woman on her first holiday with her partner, trying to navigate the power imbalance in her relationship and her own anxieties in order to discover what she truly wants.

The Prize was announced at the end of an online reading event on Wednesday 2 February 2022, organised by Goldsmiths’ Writers Centre.

Imogen said: “I really enjoyed my time at Goldsmiths; I felt like I had permission to try different things with my writing and be experimental which helped me find the style and voice that felt true to me.”

This year’s other MA Creative and Life Writing graduates shortlisted for the Pat Kavanagh Prize 2022 were: 

Madeleine Dunnigan - a writer living in London, her short fiction has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize Award and longlisted for the Brick Lane Bookshop Prize. She is part of the inaugural Genesis Jewish Book Week Emerging Writers' Programme and is currently working on her first novel. 

Charlotte Knight - a British-Ukrainian poet and a New Poets Prize winner. She was commended in the National Poetry Competition and forms part of the Poetry Translation Centre’s Undertow 8. Her debut pamphlet Ways of Healing will be out with the Poetry Business in June.

B Irwin - born and raised in Cumbria, they relocated to London to study at Goldsmiths, achieving an undergraduate degree in English Literature and Creative Writing before going on to gain a distinction on the MA Creative and Life Writing course. They are currently working on a series of personal essays that discuss grief, illness and mortality.

Doreen Cunningham - an Irish-British writer born in Wales. After studying engineering Doreen worked briefly in climate related research at NERC and in storm modelling at Newcastle University, before turning to journalism. She worked for the BBC World Service variously as an international news presenter, editor, producer and reporter, for twenty years. 

Kate Morris - a writer and journalist who lives in London. She is currently working on a collection of connected stories depicting scenes, moments (some more pivotal than others) from one woman's life, from childhood to middle age.

Previous winners of the Prize are Jonathan Holt, David Nash, Giovanna Iozzi, Julia Rotte, Luiza Sauma, Paul Carney, Bex Barton, Karen Raney, Kate Kerrow, Lisa Smith, Aileen Maguire and Kaelyn Sabal Wilson. Winning the Pat Kavanagh Prize has acted as a catalyst for publication for work by many of these writers.