The shortlist for the Authors Club Best First Novel Award 2015 is as follows:
- The Letter Bearer by Robert Allison (Granta)
- A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray (Hutchinson)
- The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman (Weidenfeld)
- Ishmael’s Oranges by Claire Hajaj (Oneworld)
- Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey (Penguin)
- The Restoration of Otto Laird by Nigel Packer (Sphere)
The chair of judges, Suzi Feay, comments: ‘When reducing the longlist to the shortlist, we have only one criterion in mind: literary quality. As the shortlist is then handed over to a guest adjudicator to make the final choice, we have to make sure that every one of our selections is a potential winner. This year’s list includes one novel, Elizabeth Is Missing, that has already been an immense success, but the others are no less worthy of a huge readership. From the deserts of North Africa in World War Two to the bloody world of 18th century prize-fighting, from the decaying dreams of an ageing modernist architect to the compulsions and convictions of a woman with dementia, from a forbidden love affair set against the background of the Middle East, to the sweet/sour account of life in a Lancashire Mormon family, all these novels are compulsively readable, the work of six born storytellers.’
The winner will be announced – and the £2, 500 prize awarded – by this year’s guest adjudicator, the novelist and memoirist Susie Boyt, at a reception at the National Liberal Club on Wednesday 17 June.
Best First Novel Award 2015 Long List Announced
We are delighted to announce the long list for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award 2015. The 12 books were selected from a record number of more than 60 submissions by a panel of Club members after intense and wide-ranging debate.
- The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (Picador)
- Academy Street by Mary Costello (Canongate)
- The Spring of Kasper Meier by Ben Fergusson (Little, Brown)
- Ishmael’s Oranges by Claire Hajj (Oneworld)
- The Dynamite Room by Jason Hewitt (Simon & Schuster)
- In the Light of What We Know by Zia Haider Rahman (Picador)
- Acts of Omission by Terry Stiastny (John Murray)
The shortlist will be made public in May, and the shorted authors will read from their work at Foyles bookshop, 107 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0DT, on Wednesday 27 May.
The winner will be announced – and the £2, 500 prize awarded – by this year’s guest adjudicator, the writer Susie Boyt, at a reception on Wednesday 17 June at the National Liberal Club in London.
Shortlisted authors (from left) Gavin Extence, Jack Wolf, Kevin Maher,
Anthea Nicholson and Lucy Cruickshanks
The Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award has been won by Jack Wolf for his astonishing debut The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones. The prize was adjudicated by the novelist Isabel Wolff, who announced the winner and presented the cheque for £2, 500 at a reception at the National Liberal Club in London on Tuesday 3 June.
“It was a privilege to be asked to judge this prestigious award, ” said Isabel Wolff, “and a great pleasure to read the six shortlisted titles: Lucy Cruickshanks’ searing portrayal of post-war Vietnam in The Trader of Saigon; Gavin Extence’s touching coming of age story The Universe Versus Alex Woods; Kevin Maher’s exhilaratingly funny, dark, tale of growing up in rural Ireland, The Fields; Eimear McBride’s extraordinary, transfiguring A Girl is a Half Formed Thing; and The Banner of the Passing Cloud, Anthea Nicholson’s beautifully written novel about life in post-Stalin Georgia.
“But in the end it was Jack Wolf’s astonishing debut that really stood out. The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones is an extraordinary novel that explores the 18th-century tension between reason and emotion, science and superstition, in an absolutely masterful way. It’s both thrillingly erudite and infectiously entertaining, completely compelling and morally unsettling. The voice never falters, and the execution is masterful. What a marvellous book – a tour de force.”
Jack Wolf added: “I was thrilled to win the Authors Club Best First Novel Award last night, and to hear my work praised so highly by Isabel Wolff. The award is a tremendously affirming and encouraging prize to win, as the way in which novels are long and shortlisted is entirely transparent and reflective of both novelistic excellence and readers’ enjoyment. I now can’t wait to read the other shortlisted novels.”
We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award 2014. The six books were selected by a panel of Club members after intense and wide-ranging debate.