As the Women Lay Dreaming wins The Paul Torday Memorial Prize 2020
18 June 2020
Award-winning author and poet Donald S Murray
has won the Society of Authors' Paul Torday Memorial Prize for his
debut novel As the Women Lay Dreaming, published by
Saraband in November 2018.
As the Women Lay Dreaming is based upon the
little-known Iolaire tragedy of 1 January 1919 - when a ship
bringing WWI servicemen home to the Hebrides sank in Stornoway
harbour, killing some 200 people.
Saraband also announce today that they have signed up Murray's
new novel, In a Veil of Mist, which revisits another
20th-century incident in the Outer Hebrides. Islanders on Lewis
were unaware that crew members on a Navy ship anchored offshore
were conducting top-secret biological weapons trials by
experimenting on animals. An accidental release could have caused
anything from sickness and pollution to a deadly plague
Donald Murray, who spent his childhood on the
Isle of Lewis and now lives in Shetland, says: "I am both thrilled
and honoured to have won the Paul Torday Memorial Prize, especially
against such wonderful competition. I am also humbled and gratified
by the warmth of the reception that As the Women Lay
Dreaming has received from the people of my home community.
Tapadh leibh uile. 'S e urram mòr a tha seo. (Thanks to
you all. This is a great honour.)"
publisher Sara Hunt says, "I'm absolutely
delighted for Donald winning this prestigious award. It's not only
a beautifully written first novel, but it's a work of great
sensitivity and humanity on an unspeakable disaster that devastated
the community he was born into. To have written a critically
acclaimed literary novel that has also been so well received there
is a remarkable achievement, and the book will be read for
"We are also thrilled to be publishing Donald's next book,
another evocative novel exploring an incident in twentieth-century
naval history - this time a clandestine and potentially
catastrophic germ-warfare trial off the Isle of Lewis."
The Paul Torday Memorial Prize, run by the
Society of Authors, celebrates a debut novel by an author over