Judges of Xcite Books Escape to Erotica short story writing competition were shocked to discover their prize-winning female author was actually a man – top writer and editor of crime, mystery and erotic fiction Maxim Jakubowski.
Maxim, who reviewed crime fiction for the Guardian and was named in the Time Out top 30 best erotic London writers of all time, decided to enter the competition anonymously by using a female pseudonym.
His story, which told of a romantic liaison between a woman selling olive oil and a journalist at a Paris food fair, was written so sensitively and beautifully that judges were convinced it was penned by a woman.
On notifying the winner that she had won the top prize of a seven-night holiday for two to the Hedonism resort in Jamaica, they were surprised as Maxim revealed his true identity.
He said: ‘Writing can be a lonely and isolated business and I felt I wanted my work to be judged impartially, that’s why I entered under a pseudonym. I’m delighted to have won the Escape to Erotica story competition. Not only do I love Jamaica, but am gratified that a story that I submitted anonymously was judged on its own merits!’
Maxim Jakubowski is one of the country’s leading writers in the erotic genre. He has published nearly 100 books and his short stories have appeared in many anthologies and magazines published by Constable Robinson and Headline in the UK and Perseus and Akashic in America. He has edited best-selling anthologies of British mystery stories and the Mammoth Books of Best New Erotica for Robinson, the Sex in the City series for Xcite Books and contributes to the Times, the Bookseller and the Evening Standard.
Judge and Xcite editor Antonia Adams, said: ‘There was only ever one winner in my opinion. It was so beautifully written and poignant, and it felt so real. It was a contemporary Brief Encounter. It really read like it had been written by a woman, so I was amazed to find out it was by Maxim Jakubowski.’
Maxim’s winning story will now take pride of place in Escape to Erotica, an ebook anthology of the five best stories entered in the competition, published by Xcite Books on Valentine’s Day, February 14 2012. The collection will also feature four stories from the runners-up which include new writers Ellie’s Present from Charlie by LW, Swept Away by Demelza Hart, The Flight by Ian Perrott and Escape by Kitty Luscious.
Launched in November at the Erotica adult lifestyle festival at Olympia, in London, the Escape to Erotica competition was a joint venture between Xcite Books and the Erotica organisers. It invited new writers and previously published authors to unleash their creative inhibitions by writing a 3- 5,000 word story on the theme of escape.
Miranda Forbes, Editorial director of Xcite Books, said: ‘Our judges were very impressed by the diversity and quality of writing among the entrants. To be fooled by Maxim only proves what an excellent writer and deserving winner he is.
‘The competition has also uncovered new writing talent among our runners-up and hopefully this competition and the Escape to Erotica ebook will be a great showcase for their work.’
The four runners-up in the competition win a year’s supply of Xcite books.
For further information, interviews & review copies, please contact: Alison Stokes, Media and Publicity Manager, Xcite Books Ltd, Tel: 0207 858 1024 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org