Poignant, exuberant, gripping: Alan Hollinghurst on the 2019 Desmond Elliott shortlist

The Booker-winning author on the trio up for the best first-novel prize – Michael Donkor’s Hold, Claire Adam’s Golden Child and Anna Mackmin’s Devoured

I’d never judged a prize before, but felt, as I worked cautiously on my seventh novel, that judging a first-novel prize might give me a shot in the arm. The Desmond Elliott prize — £10,000 for the best first novel of the year — must be an exciting one to win. It’s also a very nice one to judge. You only have to read a longlist of 10 — there’s none of the novel-a-day pressure of the Man Booker — and while you know in advance that the standard will be high, you’re unlikely to know anything about the authors themselves. I decided to read without looking at blurbs, author biographies or, particularly, reviews: it was a real chance to encounter 10 books and their writers without preconceptions.

Some of them, it turns out, have already made a splash, some have gone unfairly unnoticed, but among them, no doubt, will be big names of the future. (Lisa McInerney and Eimear McBride are among earlier winners of the prize.)

Continue reading…

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *