An ex stand-up comic who trained as a monk has been named Lit Idol, winning representation by a literary agent.
Otis Twelve abandoned his radio career to concentrate on writing
US writer Otis Twelve, 55, beat four other finalists with his detective novel On the Albino Farm.
More than 1,000 writers entered the second annual Lit Idol contest, facing a public vote and a panel of judges including Simon Cowell's brother Tony.
"I write for eight hours a day, every day, unless the dog is sick or tornadoes threaten," said Twelve.
He had previously trained as a Benedictine monk and ended a 25-year career as a radio host to concentrate on writing.
Entrants each submitted an extract from the opening chapter of their novel, with the five finalists required to read them aloud to judges at the London Book Fair in central London on Monday.
The 2004 Lit Idol winner, Paul Cavanagh, went on to sign a deal with Harper Collins.
Book fair director Alistair Burtenshaw said: "I have no doubt that Otis Twelve will go on to see his book published."