AN AUTHOR has been shortlisted from 750 applicants for a literature prize that rewards budding writers who remain unpublished.

Eve Smith, from Hailey near Witney, made the top five in this year’s Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award for a First Novel category of the Bridport Prize.

The award sees hopefuls from across the world submit stories, but only five are shortlisted, and Ms Smith is among them.

She said: "It was an amazing feeling, when I first heard I was in the top five, I screamed and scared my family and dog. It's the toughest thing I've ever tried to do. You have to be resilient, unrelenting.

"It's the first time I have had that level of external endorsement, it's a great feeling to have been judged to be worthy."

The winner of the prize was Deepa Anappara with 'Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line'.

Ms Smith's 'The Waiting Rooms', which made the top five, tackles contemporary issues, drawing on the writer's background in the corporate and scientific sectors as well as things that scare her.

The 49-year old, whose pen name is E.C Smith, has won a cash prize and will also receive a manuscript appraisal from The Literary Consultancy to help her shape and develop the novel.

The Waiting Rooms is set 20 years after an antibiotic crisis, and follows the journey of a nurse called Kate who searches for her ageing birth mother in a world where no one over 75 is allowed new antibiotics.

A Modern Languages graduate from Oxford, she returned to Oxfordshire fifteen years ago with her family. She has just started work on her next novel and is focused on getting published and developing her career as an author.

The novel competition is open to any writer based in Great Britain and The Republic of Ireland and is named in honour of Peggy Chapman-Andrews who founded both the Bridport Prize and its home, Bridport Arts Centre in Dorset in 1973.

The Bridport Prize offers up to £18,000 in prize money, which attracts entries from across the globe. This year almost 10,000 writers from 74 countries competed for one of the 34 winner and highly commended awards.

Prize administrator Kate Wilson said; “It is always such a pleasure to welcome the winners to Bridport Arts Centre to celebrate their achievements and new writing. We were thrilled and honoured this year to welcome guests from the USA, Canada, Belgium, Ireland and all over the UK.

"We receive many thousands of entries to the competition every year, so each winner can be truly proud of their achievement”.