University of Leicester lecturer's novel shortlisted for East Midlands book award

Posted by ap507 at Mar 14, 2016 10:08 AM |
Jonathan Taylor’s ‘Melissa’ among best books in the region

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 14 March 2016

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A novel by a University of Leicester lecturer has been shortlisted for the prestigious East Midlands Book Award 2015, which tries to find the best books written by authors in the region each year.

Dr Jonathan Taylor, Lecturer in Creative Writing in the School of English, had his novel Melissa published by major independent publisher Salt late 2015.

The novel is set in 1999-2000. On a small street in Stoke-on-Trent, a young girl dies of Leukaemia; at that moment, everyone on the street experiences the same musical hallucination. The novel is about that strange phenomenon, and its aftermath, as the girl's family struggle to come to terms with their terrible loss.

Jonathan said he was obviously ‘delighted’ that the novel has been shortlisted for the award. He completed the novel in the first year of lecturing at the University of Leicester, and the novel was launched at the University Bookshop on campus. "Teaching Creative Writing," he said, "really helps when it comes to your own writing too: you become much more conscious of what works, what doesn't, and how to communicate with an audience."

Dr Philip Shaw, Head of English and Modern Languages, said: “We are delighted to hear about Jonathan's richly-deserved recognition for Melissa, and congratulate him warmly of this success. The Centre for New Writing in the School of English celebrates and promotes local and national creative writing talent, and we are thrilled to see Jonathan, one of the key members of the Centre, recognised in this way as an important figure in the writing culture of the East Midlands.”

Professor Julie Coleman, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, said: “In the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities we’re committed to working in ways that impact upon real life, so I was particularly pleased to hear of Jonathan’s well-deserved nomination for a book that is of such relevance and interest for the region.”

The winner of this year's East Midlands Book Awards will be announced at a ceremony in June. Further information about the award can be found here: 

More information on Melissa is available here:


Notes to editors:

For more information contact Dr Jonathan Taylor on

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