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Former Downham Market pupil’s novel shortlisted

A former Downham pupil has been shortlisted for an award for her first published novel.

Kate Fulford, who was a student at the former grammar school in the town, is one of the finalists in the fiction category of the People’s Book Prize for Inlaws and Outlaws.

Kate said: “I was in utter disbelief when I found out about the nomination. It is lovely though, to be up for a prize.

Kate Fulford. Photo: SUBMITTED. (2728560)
Kate Fulford. Photo: SUBMITTED. (2728560)

“The last thing I can recall winning was the North Hertfordshire Junior high jump championship when I was 11, and then I had to give the trophy back straight after the presentation, so the only way is up, really.”

Although she did not grow up wanting to be an author, she always had a passion for books and reading.

“It was only when I met my husband that I began to write for fun,” she said.

“He is Australian and for the first nine months of our relationship, until he made the move to the UK, I wrote to him every week, 20 pages or more.”

A few years later when Kate gave up full time work to become a freelancer, she had the time to see if she could write.

This is not Kate’s first full-length novel, but it is the first that she felt was “good enough” to submit to publishers.

“Writing is a craft as much as an art, and you need to practice a lot to gain any level of skill,” she said.

Kate, who was amongst the last group of pupils to go to the grammar school before it merged with the former secondary modern boys and girls schools, met the illustrator for her book while at the school.

Andy Bridge is also the artist behind the cover illustrations for Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and The Truth by Michael Palin.

“We were great friends and worked together in our holidays from university at Frigoscandia, a huge frozen vegetable plant that use to be on the Hardwick roundabout in Lynn,” she said.

“We lost touch, but when I got my publishing deal, I asked Andy if he would design my book cover.”

Inlaws and Outlaws is one of 20 books to be nominated for the People’s Book Prize, which aims to find, support and promote new and undiscovered works.

The competition is decided exclusively by the public, and you can vote online for your favourite. To vote for Inlaws and Outlaws, go to www.tinyurl.com/voteinlaws2018.

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