The PFD Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award shortlist for 2017 has been announced today. This year, the official judges have selected five books rather than four and they are:
Outlandish Knight: The Byzantine Life of Steven Runciman by Minoo Dinshaw (biography)
The End of the Day by Claire North (novel)
The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachico (short stories)
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney (novel)
The Lauras by Sara Taylor (novel) Continue reading
I am very pleased to be on the official shadow panel for this year’s Young Writer of the Year Award (sponsored by the Sunday Times, Peters Fraser + Dunlop in association with Warwick University), along with four brilliant book bloggers: Rebecca at Bookish Beck, Annabel at annabookbel, Dane at Social Bookshelves and Eleanor at Elle Thinks.
The £5,000 prize is open to UK and Irish writers aged 35 or under for a work of fiction, poetry or non-fiction of outstanding literary merit. It was relaunched in 2015 following a hiatus since 2009 and past winners include Zadie Smith, Sarah Waters, Naomi Alderman and Francis Spufford. Continue reading
Told through a chorus of over 160 different voices, ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ by George Saunders follows the aftermath of the death of Abraham Lincoln’s eleven-year-old son Willie in 1862 from typhoid fever during the American Civil War. Willie finds himself trapped between death and rebirth with other spirits in the cemetery who believe he should proceed to the next stage of the afterlife. However, Willie is resistant as he wants to spend more time with his distraught father who regularly visits the crypt to mourn his loss. Continue reading
The longlist for the Man Booker International Prize is due to be announced on Wednesday 15th March. I am on the shadow panel again this year and have been thinking about which books could make the cut.
The pool of fiction in translation published in the UK is smaller than the huge number of books which are eligible for awards like the Man Booker Prize and Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. However, thanks to consistent championing by booksellers, bloggers and publishers helping to steadily raise the profile of translated fiction, it doesn’t actually make the predictions easier (which is ultimately a good thing, of course). I also have no knowledge of which books have actually been submitted for consideration so my choices are purely speculative. Continue reading
The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist for 2017 was announced today. The 16 books are:
Stay With Me by Ayòbámi Adébáyò
The Power by Naomi Alderman
Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
Little Deaths by Emma Flint
The Mare by Mary Gaitskill
The Dark Circle by Linda Grant
The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride
Midwinter by Fiona Melrose
The Sport of Kings by CE Morgan
The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso
The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
Barkskins by Annie Proulx
First Love by Gwendoline Riley
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain Continue reading
Having had some success with my Man Booker Prize predictions last year with three of my choices appearing on the longlist, I have been thinking about possible contenders for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction ahead of the longlist announcement on Wednesday 8th March.
As with my Man Booker Prize predictions list, I have been considering eligible books in terms of preferences and possibilities. There will be just 12 books on the longlist this year, down from 20 in previous years. This makes it much harder to narrow down my choices but my top personal preferences include:
This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell – O’Farrell’s seventh novel spanning across decades and continents is among her finest in my opinion.
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry – a critical and commercial success, Perry’s second novel didn’t make the Man Booker Prize longlist and it will be surprising to many if it misses out on this one too.
The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss – another book I hoped would be a Man Booker Prize contender last summer, I would really like to see Moss’s fifth novel recognised by the Baileys Prize judges. Continue reading
I have read some excellent books in 2016 both new and not-quite-so-new. Here is a selection of my favourite reads of 2016:
My reading has been dominated by female authors more than ever this year. This isn’t something I deliberately set out to achieve but it is fantastic to see so many brilliant books written by women getting widespread attention. I highly recommend The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss and The Wonder by Emma Donoghue which could be possible contenders for next year’s Wellcome Book Prize awarded to a fiction or non-fiction book about health or medicine.
I really enjoyed The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry which is one of the most original historical novels I have read in a long time while other recent favourites with a more modern setting include Swing Time by Zadie Smith, the Brexit-themed Autumn by Ali Smith and This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell. Continue reading