Belfast Telegraph

Debut novels compete for Desmond Elliott prize as longlist is revealed

The list includes several bestsellers.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, The Mermaid And Mrs Hancock and Conversations With Friends are among the novels on the longlist for the Desmond Elliott prize.

The books by Gail Honeyman, Imogen Hermes Gowar and Sally Rooney respectively will compete against other books including How To Be Human by Paula Cocozza and The Clocks In This House All Tell Different Times by Xan Brooks, for the prize that recognises debut efforts.

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Honeyman has already won the Costa first novel award for her book.

The list features 10 contenders for the prize, named for the late literary agent and publisher.

The others in the running are Seven Days Of Us by Francesca Hornak, Peculiar Ground by Lucy Hughes-Hallett, How Saints Die by Carmen Marcus, One Star Awake by Andrew Meehan and We That Are Young by Preti Taneja.

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Dallas Manderson, the chairman of the prize’s trustees, said: “It is a pleasure to reveal this exemplary longlist, containing such a powerful array of distinctive voices.

“We are extremely pleased to see that some publishers appear to be investing more in debut fiction, as evidenced from the success of several of the novels on our longlist.

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“However, as the point of our prize is to help debut writers sustain their careers, we hope that investment continues to our authors’ second and third books.”

Journalist Samira Ahmed, who served as one of the judges for the prize, added: “I haven’t judged a book prize before but it has always been debut novels that have most intrigued me and provided some of my most fascinating conversations with writers.

“I’ve never loved anything more than reading so I can’t think of anything more delightful than being presented with so many titles by new talents.”

Last year the prize was given to Francis Spufford for his debut novel, Golden Hill.

The shortlist will be announced on April 27 and the winner will be revealed at a ceremony at Fortnum & Mason on June  20, where they will be presented with a cheque for £10,000.

From Belfast Telegraph