Amy Mason scoops Dundee International Book Prize award

image copyrightBob McDevitt
image captionAmy Mason won £10,000 and a publishing deal for her debut novel, The Other Ida

A woman who dropped out of school at 16 and took up writing at 25 has won the Dundee International Book Prize.

Amy Mason, from Oxford, won the £10,000 prize and a publishing deal for her debut novel The Other Ida.

The 32-year-old saw off competition from 400 entries from across the world in the annual contest, which was judged by a panel including novelist Neil Gaiman and broadcaster Kirsty Lang.

Ms Mason was presented with her prize at the Dundee Literary Festival.

The Other Ida follows a woman named after a hit play written by her hard-drinking mother as she returns home when the older woman succumbs to alcoholism.

Evening class

Bournemouth-born writer and performer Ms Mason left school at 16 and said she was a "disaster" throughout her 20s until she was "saved" by an evening writing class aged 25.

She said: "Winning the prize is obviously completely brilliant. I entered on a whim, and cried every time I got to another stage in the competition.

"To get the novel published, and enough money to keep me writing for a year, is amazing.

"It's taken a long time to get here, but I'm delighted I can put Ida to bed in such a happy way.

"I said I'd never write another book, but have already started on the next one."

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