Thriller author Rachel McLean has been selected as the winner of the 2021 Kindle Storyteller Award with her novel, The Corfe Castle Murders.

Following a record number of submissions, Rachel was crowned winner by celebrity judge and host Clare Balding at a virtual ceremony that took place in London.

Clare Balding presents award to Rachel McLean
Rachel McLean crowned winner of the 2021 Kindle Storyteller Award
Photo by Andrew Timms

Published during the height of the pandemic, the first book in Rachel’s Dorset Crime series is a compelling, character-driven mystery that shares the story of DCI Lesley Clarke, a straight-talking city copper who has been transferred to the supposedly calmer location of Dorset after being injured in a bomb attack. However, things don’t stay calm for long as Lesley is dragged into investigating a murder at one of England’s most iconic landmarks, Corfe Castle, and must hit the ground running to solve the murder before the killer strikes again.

In addition to the £20,000 prize money, Rachel will receive a marketing campaign to support the book on alongside the highly coveted Golden Kindle.

Rachel McLean said: “I’m over the moon to have won! I was encouraged by friends to independently publish with KDP, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

“The whole experience has been brilliant, and I want to thank Birmingham Writers Group, my editor, Joel Hames, and my wonderful readers for supporting me. It’s such an unexpected surprise!”

The 2021 judging panel comprised of broadcaster and author Clare Balding, best-selling author Nicola May, 2020 Kindle Storyteller winner Anna McNuff, Sacha Black from the Alliance of Independent Authors, former Minister of State for Digital and Culture and MP for Gosport Caroline Dinenage,
Darren Hardy, Author and Editorial Programmes Manager at Amazon UK and Michaella Parkes from the Amazon Books Editorial Team.

Readers play a pivotal role in deciding which titles make it through to the final round of the competition, with customer purchases, reviews and pages read in Kindle Unlimited helping to determine the shortlist.

Praise for the winning title:

  • “It transported us to the heart of the story by painting vivid images in our minds. Every word jumped off the pages.” – Clare Balding
  • “Wow. What a story – I was gripped from the first page. Loved DCI Lesley Clarke’s character and thoroughly enjoyed seeing her develop through the storyline!” – Anna McNuff

The Kindle Storyteller Award is in its fifth year in the UK and was established to recognise newly published work in the English language across any genre. The Award was open to any work in the English language published on Kindle Direct Publishing between May 1st and August 31st, 2021.

Darren Hardy, Author and Editorial Programmes Manager at Amazon UK, who chaired the judging panel, said: “It is always a tough decision to choose a winner, as they’ve all done well to get to this stage. Rachel McLean’s story hooked us the most from first page to last - capturing our imaginations. It left us wanting to stay in the story and follow DCI Lesley Clarke on her next adventure. Rachel is a worthy winner and congratulations to all our shortlisted authors. It will be exciting to see how all their careers develop in the coming years.”

Find out more about the Kindle Storyteller Award.