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Congratulations Ros Barber!

I know I’m a bit late here but I just wanted to say a massive congratulations to Ros Barber and to her publishers Sceptre for her verse novel (is that the right phrase?) The Marlowe Papers winning the Desmond Elliott Prize for Debut Fiction 2013.

Image: readinggroups.org

Image: readinggroups.org

There’s a great website all about the book here, and an extract here on The Guardian website.

To be honest I didn’t expect The Marlowe Papers to win as it is so innovative and ‘different’ so I’m really pleased to hear that it did.

What are your thoughts on the Prize winner?

 

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Articles, Events

Post-Holiday Catch Up

Hello all

I just got back last night from a week in Scotland with my boyfriend and so I am a little behind on all the events and news du jour in the book world thanks to intermittent WiFi and hours spent driving around the highlands (both of which were actually awesome). I’ve been glued to my phone since my late night return (healthy) and so have caught up a bit. I think.

Firstly, the Desmond Elliot Prize for Debut Fiction shortlist was announced.

I did a post here about the longlist and how exciting it was, and so now I’m back from the wilds I’m reading about the shortlist. It’s much shorter than I thought it would be but I actually like the succinctness of that. To be honest the three books that have been chosen were not necessarily ones I would have chosen but they are all brave, innovative debuts that deserve recognition, and I congratulate the authors and their publishers. Well done! I personally want Jenni Fagan to win for her novel The Panopticon not only because I think it’s a really cool idea but also because she went to my university. Not biased AT ALL.

Image from windmill-books.co.uk

Image from windmill-books.co.uk

Lots has been going on at Tinder Press too.

Check out their Facebook events page for stuff going on with Bryan Kimberling’s novel Snapper, as well as lots of news on their website. AND there was a great review of The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls in Heat magazine, which was pretty cool. My review of it will be up soon.

I took this photo while waiting for a train in Glasgow. Thought you'd like to know.

I took this photo while waiting for a train in Glasgow. Thought you’d like to know.

A top ten books for June list was published in Stylist magazine, and written by Stacey Bartlett from We Love This Book.

And a bloody good list it is too! Yonahlossee is mentioned, as well as The Ocean At The End of the Lane, the new adult novel from Neil Gaiman, which everyone is going nuts about. Especially Headline’s Sam Eades.

Image from stylist.co.uk

Image from stylist.co.uk

Anything else you think is super big news from this week or last week, please fill me in!

Cheers 🙂

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The Desmond Elliott Prize for Debut Fiction 2013

This is the first year that I’ve followed the Desmond Elliott Prize for debut fiction, and I’m excited about it already. The longlist of ten debut novels (all have to be written in English and published in the UK) was announced on 25th April, and the shortlist will be announced on 23rd May. The winner will be awarded the £10,000 prize at Fortnum & Mason on 27th June.

The Prize was launched in 2007 in memory of publisher and literary agent Desmond Elliott, who died in 2003. The judges look for “a novel which has a compelling narrative, arresting character, and which is both vividly written and confidently realised.” (Quote from desmondelliottprize.org)

I really like this idea, or aim, and though there are a lot of literary prizes out there, I like that this one has quite a ‘pure’ aim behind it, in that it celebrates the qualities that make a novel officially ‘good’, and that it can help to launch the careers of first-time novelists that really deserve recognition. Reading through the longlist it also seems that the titles chosen are a good mix of ‘buzzy’ popular titles and slightly under-the-radar books that need a little more exposure. To me it looks like a healthy mix of genres too, with no one type of novel being particularly favoured.

Of course this year everyone has picked up on the fact that the majority of the longlist is made up of books written by women. The Prize’s website identifies this as a trend, with three of the five previous winners having been women. Personally I think this is totally irrelevant – there is more then enough comment in the media about the proportions of men and women achieving or doing this or that, and for a literary prize that celebrates pure talent and merit, I think gender should be ignored. The novels are what matters, and they should to an extent speak for themselves. To me the background, experiences, talents and techniques of the authors is much more interesting than whether they are a man or a woman.

Let’s have a look at the lovely covers of the long list: (all images from desmondelliottprize.org)

MarlowePapers_hb.indd the_universe_versus_alex_woods the_panopticon the_palace_of_curiosities petite_mort the_fields signs_of_life seldom_seen jammy_dodger the_painted_bridge

While I cannot critique each book on the list individually I feel this is a strong selection of titles. I love the variety and feel I could get along well with most of the novels, though some more than other obviously! I will hopefully be attending the Desmond Elliott event at Foyles on 30th May, at which authors from the Prize’s history will be reading from their work and discussing the 2013 Prize, as well as what inspires them to write. The event will be chaired by Robert Collins, deputy literary editor of The Sunday Times, and tickets as well as more information about the event are available here.

What do you think of the longlist? Have you read any of the titles? Comments welcome!

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