Susie Petruccelli’s Raised A Warrior fought off intense competition to win the inaugural Vikki Orvice Book Prize at another remarkable #WhatIf night hosted by Women In Football at Twitter headquarters in Central London.
The award was presented by chair of judges Charlotte Atyeo and her fellow judging panellist, Ian Ridley, Vikki’s husband, said of Susie’s book: “This is a marvellous and well-written story that takes in a discovery of love for football, how it almost destroyed her before it put her back together again, and how equality in the game can spread internationally.”
Susie pipped Alison Bender, who was Highly Commended for her submission The Real Life: TV Motherhood and Me, which Ian described as “an autobiographical story of depth and determination that she really should keep going with and which deserves to be published sooner rather than later.”
The book prize is a partnership between WIF and Floodlit Dreams, the publishing company owned by Ian, who wanted to make a pledge to the #WhatIf campaign. It was subsequently named after Vikki, a WIF board member who died of cancer aged 56 in February.
An emotional Susie, who describes her book as “a feminist awakening” paid tribute in her acceptance speech to Vikki, WIF and Floodlit Dreams.
“Thank you so much,” she said. “I’m forever grateful for this honour of a lifetime. Thank you to Vikki Orvice and Women In Football, Ebru Koksal (WIF Chair), Floodlit Dreams and Ian Ridley for inspiring and leading and making change.
“This was a big team effort. I am so grateful to my family and friends and everyone who helped me get this far.”
Floodlit Dreams will now work with Susie to prepare Raised A Warrior for publication, both in ebook and paperback, with a working release date of Spring 2020.
There were 20 entries for the competition and in announcing the winner, Ian urged all to keep writing and to pursue their projects.
“They were all fine proposals on a wide variety of topics,” he said. “There is merit in all of them and we will be providing every author with feedback. Keep going. Floodlit Dreams will always be open to ideas in the future.”
Ian thanked his “brilliant” fellow judges Charlotte, the former publisher of the cricket ‘bible’ Wisden and of the sports narrative list at Bloomsbury, now a freelance editor and a literary agent at Kingsford Campbell; Amy Lawrence of The Guardian and Observer, Sarah Shephard of the website The Coaches’ Voice, and Musa Okwonga, poet, writer and podcaster.
The five shortlisted authors were:
Alison Bender: The Real Life – TV, Motherhood and Me
Issy Clarke: Bibs, Boots, Balls and Brains
Katie Mishner: Queering the Beautiful Game
Lucy Pepper: Heart-Stopping – My Life after Death
Susie Petruccelli: Raised A Warrior