I was very sorry to read Susan Hill's post above announcing the end of her "first novel" competition. She explains the reasons in the post; Scott Pack, a fellow judge and Long Barn Books board member, provides some more explanation for the decision here.
Two apparently talented authors (the previous two winners) have had the good fortune to have their books published thanks to this competition and the support of Long Barn Books, not only in the UK but in the USA also. After this year, becuase of some whinging by the current applicants who did not like the implication that their entries were of an insufficient standard, the judges have decided the effort isn't worth it and are packing it in, and who can blame them? I think this is very sad, but I would not like my hand being bitten as I fed people in this way, either, and I can readily understand the decision to end it now. I am sure Susan Hill and colleagues can find books to publish easily enough, and good luck to them. It is just a pity that yet another avenue has been closed to a previously unpublished author, because of the lack of good manners of a minority (I am sure) of entrants.