Debut novel books its place as festival visitors’ favourite

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A DEBUT novel by Sarah Winman has been announced as the winner of the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s Newton First Book Award.

The award encourages people to discover the up-and-coming novelists featured in the festival programme each year and vote for their favourite.

More than 900 votes were cast through the Book Festival website and on ballot cards submitted during the festival at Charlotte Square Gardens in August.

Winman’s When God Was a Rabbit was a clear favourite, receiving more than ten per cent of the votes, while two books shared second place – Invitation by Shehryar Fazli and The Registrar’s Manual for Detecting Forced Marriages by Sophie Hardach.

Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival Nick Barley said: “The Newton First Book Award has been very successful in introducing the best in new writing from the UK and abroad to our Book Festival audience.

“When God Was a Rabbit is a worthy winner in a strong field, and we offer our congratulations to Sarah Winman.”