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Shortlist revealed for Sunday Times young writer prize

The winner will secure £10,000 and a residency with the University of Warwick.

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Megan Nolan is among the nominees (Lynn Rothwell/PA)

Megan Nolan is among the nominees (Lynn Rothwell/PA)

Megan Nolan is among the nominees (Lynn Rothwell/PA)

Women dominate the shortlist for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award.

The nominees for the prize, which celebrates the best emerging talent in the UK and Ireland, this year include one male and four female authors.

A member of the judging panel described the group as “risk-takers” who through their work are “taking chances with style, with perspective, with form”.

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Rachel Long (Amaal Said/PA)

Rachel Long (Amaal Said/PA)

Rachel Long (Amaal Said/PA)

The winner will secure £10,000 as well as a bespoke 10-week residency with the University of Warwick, with those on the shortlist receiving £1,000,

Irish novelist Megan Nolan is nominated for her darkly funny debut novel Acts Of Desperation, while US-based writer Anna Beecher is shortlisted for her book about love, life and loss, titled Here Comes The Miracle.

Cal Flyn, an author and journalist from the Scottish Highlands, also features on the shortlist for an “eerie yet ultimately optimistic” non-fiction book about ecological diversity, Islands Of Abandonment.

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Rachel Long, from London, is nominated for her debut poetry collection, My Darling From The Lions, and British-Ghanian author Caleb Azumah Nelson for Open Water, his south-east London-set debut.

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Cal Flyn (Nancy Macdonald/PA)

Cal Flyn (Nancy Macdonald/PA)

Cal Flyn (Nancy Macdonald/PA)

The judging panel features writer and academic Sarah Moss, Scottish novelist Andrew O’Hagan, author and columnist Tahmima Anam, critic Claire Lowdon and writer Gonzalo C Garcia.

It is chaired by the literary editor of the Sunday Times, Andrew Holgate.

Lowdon said: “These writers stand out because they are risk-takers.

“Risking vulnerability, risking unlikability. Taking chances with style, with perspective, with form.

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Caleb Azmah Nelson (Stuart Ruel/PA)

Caleb Azmah Nelson (Stuart Ruel/PA)

Caleb Azmah Nelson (Stuart Ruel/PA)

“Open any one of these books and you will find yourself, thrillingly, in uncharted territory.”

Moss said: “From a strong longlist, we chose the five books that showed the most inventive and promising writing.

“I’m confident that these are not only new books and new stories but new voices that will become part of our shared cultural life in the coming years.

“The rising generation inherits a shameful mess, but the breadth of genres and themes here attests to the artistic and intellectual energy of new writers.”

The award, which is this year sponsored by the Charlotte Aitken Trust, is celebrating its 30th anniversary year.

The winner will be announced in a ceremony at the London Library on February 24.


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