WATCH: NorthBound Book Award Panel with John D. Rutter, J.A. Mensah and Adam Farrer

A panel discussion with three NorthBound Book Award winners and the launch of the winning novel from 2020, Approval by John D. Rutter.


The NorthBound Book Award was created in 2019 to celebrate the richness of writing from the North of England and the innovative spirit of independent publishing. Find out more about the award here. Our three winners so far, J.A. Mensah (2019), John D. Rutter (2020) and Adam Farrer (2021) will be discussing the prize, their books and the northern literary landscape – followed by an audience Q&A.

Our inaugural winner, Castles from Cobwebs by J.A. Mensah, was published in February 2021 and went on to be longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Chambéry Festival du premier Roman. It is a magical tale of a young woman’s transition from innocence to understanding as she untangles her complicated past. “From start to finish, I was spellbound … I absolutely love this book.” Yvonne Battle-Felton

Our second winner, Approval by John D. Rutter will be published on 26 August 2021 and will be launched as part of this event. “John D. Rutter’s Approval is many things at once. A powerful meditation on judgement. A transfixing fable of a Kafka-esque application process. A complex tragedy about fatherhood. But it’s also a simple, affecting and beautifully wrought story of one couple’s journey towards what they most desire – a child – and the cost of reaching out for one. A hugely promising debut.” Rodge Glass

Our most recent winner, Cold Fish Soup by Adam Farrer will be published in August 2022. Reflecting on aspects of life in the author’s former hometown, the Yorkshire coastal resort town of Withernsea, Cold Fish Soup is a darkly humorous memoir that is deeply rooted in place. Farrer explores themes such as economic decline, severe coastal erosion and mental health with candour and wit, confronting grave subjects with clarity and sensitivity. The judges called it “insightful, challenging, moving and entertaining”, “a love letter to Withernsea and all the people in it”.

Buy Castles from Cobwebs, J.A. Mensah (signed)

Pre-order Approval, John D. Rutter