Whalley mum’s novel wins top national award

Tara Guha author  (s)
Tara Guha author (s)

A mum-of-two from Whalley has scooped the UK’s biggest prize for unpublished authors.

Tara Guha was named as the winner of the Luke Bitmead bursary, an annual award set up to encourage fledgling writers. She entered her first novel for the award and was stunned when it was announced she was the winner and the prize would be publication. Tara’s novel, Untouchable Things, goes into print on Tuesday, September 1st.

Working in the music industry took to me some fabulous places and I met some amazing people but I felt my work was facilitating their creativity and I wanted to explore my own

Tara Guha

Tara (45) said: “It is exciting and overwhelming at the same time because I never expected to win the award. I happened to see it advertised on Twitter and it went from there.’’

The book is a psychological thriller that unpicks complex group relationships to explore loss, sexual obsession and the dark places in everyone. It has been nine years since Tara first sat down to write her novel while she was at home looking after her eldest daughter, Leela.

Tara said: “I had an idea for the novel that I had been thinking about for a long time so I just sat down at the computer and started writing it while Leela took naps.

“I was very naive about the whole process which was perhaps a good thing at the time.’’

A Cambridge English graduate, Tara is a former pupil of Clitheroe Girls Grammar School. Her career has been varied, from working in the classical music industry promoting artistes including Placido Domingo, Paul McCartney and Dudley Moore, working as a freelance journalist, working for a homeless charity and as a counsellor.

At the moment Tara, whose proud parents, Shankha and Elizabeth Guha still live in Whalley, is working for a mental health charity based in Halifax.

She said: “I have a lot of interests and passions that light me up and I have always been a very creative person.

“Working in the music industry took to me some fabulous places and I met some amazing people but I felt my work was facilitating their creativity and I wanted to explore my own.’’

A keen writer since the age of five, it always seemed likely that Tara, who now lives in Hebden Bridge with her partner David, Leela and youngest daughter Evie, who is six, would one day write a novel. And in world packed with stuggling authors, Tara is well aware how fate has treated her kindly.

She said: “I believe it was perhaps a mix of talent, luck and also my novel being written in the style the judges must have been looking for.

“I realise there are many talented people out there writing away and there work may never see light of day.’’

A launch party for Untouchable Things will be held on Friday, September 18th at Hebden Bridge town hall. The book is priced at £8-99 in print and for more information contact info@legend-paperbooks.co.uk.