Melbourne-based writer Ruth McIver has won the 2018 Richell Prize for her entry I Shot the Devil. The novel is a dual narrative following a journalist in 2010 who is investigating a series of crimes in her hometown, alongside a memoir from 1994 written by one of the town’s residents who was close to the crime.

Judges described the novel as ‘a dark and unforgettable literary noir’ that showed ‘an emerging writer of considerable literary talent. Atmospheric and chillingly entertaining, this was a novel that every single judge wanted to read more of.’ Ruth was chosen from a shortlist of five and a longlist of 19. She receives $10,000 and a mentorship with a Hachette publisher to help develop the work to publication.

Ruth is a creative writing PhD student at Curtin University. She mostly writes true crime-inspired fiction and has had several other successes in writing, including a self-published novel titled The Sunset Club. Another of her novels, Nothing Gold, was runner up for Harper Collins Australia‘s Banjo prize, a competition which presents stories told by Australian voices.

In total, 660 entries were submitted for the prize. Applicants were required to submit the first three chapters and a synopsis of a proposed work of adult fiction or narrative nonfiction. Now in its fourth year, the Richell Prize was created in memory of former Hachette CEO Matt Richell, who died in 2014.

This year’s judges were author and Richell’s widow Hannah Richell, Emerging Writers’ Festival executive director Will Dawson, bookseller Gavin Williams, and Hachette publisher Vanessa Radnidge.

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