The Winners of The Guardian Hot Key Books Young Writers Prize!

After many months of reading, deliberating, more reading, and even more deliberating, our panel of judges have selected two winners from more than 342 entries. These two winners have both written outstanding work for the 13-19 age group. So without further ado, the winners of the first annual Guardian Hot Key Books Young Writers Prize are:

Joe Ducie, for his thrilling escape story, THE RIG:

Joe Ducie

Joe is 24 and lives in Perth, Australia, although he is originally from Cumbria. Joe has a degree in Counter-terrorism, Security and Intelligence. He has also studied Creative and Professional Writing at Curtin University.

THE RIG 300dpi

The RIG tells the story of  fifteen-year-old Will Drake who has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at The Rig, a specialist juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from The Rig. No one, that is, except for Drake…



Katie is 25, she grew up in a small suburban town in New Jersey. She has an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh.


VIVIAN VERSUS THE APOCALYPSE is a chilling vision of a contemporary USA where the sinister Church of America is destroying lives. Our cynical protagonist, seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple, is awaiting the fated ‘Rapture’ – or rather the lack of it. Her evangelical parents have been in the Church’s thrall for too long, and she’s looking forward to getting them back. Except that when Vivian arrives home the day after the supposed ‘Rapture’, her parents are gone. All that is left are two holes in the ceiling…

Both books will be published on 5 September of this year in print and ebook. We are so grateful to our incredible panel of judges – Julia Eccleshare, John Newman, Will Hill, Elen Caldecott and students from Evelyn Grace Academy and Thongsley Fields Primary School –  for their time and energy. This was not an easy decision, but we are so pleased with the result! A huge congratulations to both our winners, and to everyone who entered the competition.

Entries for the 2013 Guardian Hot Key Young Writers Prize will open soon — watch this space!

Read the full press release here.