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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 November, 2003, 01:33 GMT
Lit Idol seeks new writing talent
JK Rowling
Rowling, once an unknown writer herself, is now worth millions
Aspiring novelists will compete for the chance to win a lucrative publishing contract in a Pop-Idol style literary talent search.

Lit Idol has been organised by London Book Fair to uncover untapped talent in the world of fiction writing.

The winner will secure a deal with a leading agent which would be almost certain to result in a contract.

Getting an agent can be difficult for unpublished writers as many firms will not read unsolicited manuscripts.

Entrants will be asked to submit up to 10,000 words from the opening chapters of a novel with a two-page synopsis.

They will be whittled down to five, whose work will be displayed on websites ( and and opened up to a public vote.

Jenny Colgan
Jenny Colgan, author of Amanda's Wedding, is a contest judge
The five will be asked to read their works before the panel and industry figures at the London Book Fair on 15 March.

The winner will be represented by agent Ali Gunn of the firm Curtis Brown, whose discoveries have included "chick lit" writer Jenny Colgan.

Ms Gunn and Colgan will be on the judging panel, along with writer Emlyn Rees and Daily Mail fiction editor Hephzibah Anderson.

Details will be available in some bookshops and online at and websites.

Ali Gunn, competition judge
"What we're looking for is the new literary sensation"

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