TLC Pen Factor Winner Lizzie Damilola Blackburn to be published by Viking Books

July 29, 2020 | Other News

We’re very excited to share the news that the winner of last year’s TLC Pen Factor, Lizzie Damilola Blackburn has secured a six-figure publishing deal with Viking Books for her debut novel, Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?. We’re always thrilled when TLC writers find success, either through traditional publication, or self-publication. In the case of our latest successful TLC alumna, it’s been a real thrill for us to see her quick rise to success, after hearing her read her writing for the first time at our TLC Pen Factor writing competition only last year!

TLC Pen Factor Success

After entering TLC’s Pen Factor in 2019 (the competition is held each year at our annual TLC Writers’ Day event), Lizzie Damilola Blackburn made the shortlist, and captivated the audience with a reading from her novel-in-progress Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?. After wowing the crowd and our panel of industry judges, Lizzie was crowned the winner. One of the judges, Nelle Andrew, enjoyed Lizzie’s work so much, that after the event she approached Lizzie, via TLC, and signed her.

We’re now thrilled to see that Lizzie has continued her success, and a little over a year after reading to the crowd at Writers’ Day, she has signed a two-book deal with Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin.

We asked Lizzie to tell us a little bit about how the Pen Factor Prize had helped her on her journey, and here she tells us more:

What Lizzie Said…

“My life changed after I entered TLC’s Pen Factor Competition in June 2019. Not only did I win, but it was through the competition that I met my current agent, Nelle Andrew. (She was one of the judges on the panel.) She loved the extract of my novel, Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? and invited me to her office to hear more about it. To cut a long story short, after sending Nelle a full outline of my manuscript and the first fifty pages, she offered me representation. I was over the moon. Everything happened so quickly. I then spent the next several months revising my novel and working towards my dreams of becoming a published author.

The prizes from the TLC Pen Factor Competition were extremely helpful. For instance, my membership with the Royal Society of Literature enabled me to attend their events for free. This provided the perfect respite from writing and left me feeling incredibly inspired. And I now have a practical author branding strategy as a result of the brilliant 1:1 sessions I had with CreateThinkDo. If I had not encountered TLC, I wouldn’t be where I am today–I recently secured a two-book deal with Viking/Penguin! The team have been super supportive and are one of my biggest champions. I am so grateful for their support.”

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? is a contemporary romantic comedy with shades of the hit show ‘Insecure’, ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ and Queenie, that tackles race, religion and feminism. It follows Yinka, a 31-year-old British-Nigerian woman living in south London, who sets out, aided by a spreadsheet and her best friend (and many interfering aunties), to find a date for her cousin’s wedding.

You can read more about Lizzie’s success in an article on The Bookseller (subscription required).

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? will be published by Viking in Spring 2022.