Norwich author wins award for his debut novel

Benjamin Johncock

Benjamin Johncock - Credit: Archant

An author has won an award for his debut novel about the space race during the 1960s in America.

Benjamin Johncock received the Best First Novel Award from the Author's Club for his book The Last Pilot.

The 38-year-old, who lives off Unthank Road in Norwich, started writing the novel at the end of 2008 and had it published last year.

It follows the story of an American test pilot who is plucked from the US Air Force to become one of the first astronauts.

Speaking about the award, he said: 'It is fantastic to have been recognised and celebrated, especially when so many of the other books on the shortlist were so brilliant.'

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Former film critic for the Independent, Anthony Quinn, presented Mr Johncock with the £2,500 award on Tuesday.

He said: 'The Last Pilot is a memorable achievement, and a hugely deserving winner of this prize.'

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The award, now in its 63rd year, is the longest-running in the UK for debut fiction. Mr Johncock's book beat off competition from what was described as a 'powerful and richly varied' shortlist.

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