Our Alumni and Prize Winners

We are so lucky to have hosted and collaborated with a lot of talented people in Primadonna’s young life. Thank you to all our alumni for your part in making the festival so special – for a weekend of the world as it should be.

Meet our Primadonna Prize Winners

We set up the Primadonna Prize because we wanted to open up access to the publishing industry. We wanted more people to be able to tell their stories. And we wanted everyone to feel welcome to participate.
None of these people had ever been published before. Come along to this year’s festival and experience Primadonna’s magic for yourself. You never know, it could be you next. 

Elissa Soave

Elissa Soave is a Scottish writer. She won the inaugural Primadonna Prize in 2019, her prize being representation by Primadonna-agent Cathryn Summerhayes. Summerhayes negotiated a publishing contract with HQ, Harper Collins and Elissa’s first novel Ginger and Me was published by them in July 2022.  Elissa was on the judging panel of the 2023 Primadonna Prize. Her new novel 'Graffiti Girls' is released in November 2024.

Honoria Beirne

Honoria Beirne was the winner of the Prize in 2020, also winning representation by Cath Summerhayes. Honoria was a finalist in the ‘Richard and Judy / WHSmith Search for a Bestseller’ prize, and her short fiction has been recognised in a number of competitions, including the Bridport, Royal Academy Pindrop, Fish, Bristol and Brighton prizes. She was longlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award in 2020.

Gayathiri Kamalakanthan

Our 2021 winner was Gayathiri Kamalakanthan, a Tamil poet, playwright and sex education facilitator. Their work thinks about the shapeability of the future, what it takes to decolonise a body and the push and pull of mothers. Gayathiri has developed work with 45North, Kali Theatre and Oxford Playhouse, and will be showcasing their first play Period Parrrty in 2023. Gayathiri won representation with Cath Summerhayes as winner of the Primadonna Prize for Fiction 2021 and is currently working on their debut novel and a collection of poems under the mentorship of Griot’s Well.

Jo Morrey

Winner of the Primadonna Prize (2022)

Natalie Gregory

Winner of the Primadonna Prize (2023)

These are the kind of small scale but life-changing impacts that Primadonna is all about. We know it changes lives.

Came as a festival-goer, left with a book deal!

Louise Mumford

Louise was born in South Wales where she still lives today. In the summer of 2019 Louise experienced a once-in-a-lifetime moment: she was discovered as a new writer by her publisher at the Primadonna Festival. Louise’s debut novel Sleepless was published in December 2020 by HQ HarperCollins. A UK Amazon Kindle Top 50 bestseller, it was the Asda Karin Slaughter Killer Read for July 2021. Her second thriller, The Safe House, was published in May 2022 and her latest novel, The Festival, is published in August 2024.

Anita Lehmann

Anita won the inaugural Make Sioned Laugh competition at Primadonna 2019, performing in front of (then) Radio 4 commissioner for comedy Sioned Wiliam. She is a prize winning children’s author and also writes for adults under the pseudonym Walburga Appleseed, publishing The Princess and the Prick in October 2020 with a new book coming out in autumn 2024.