It’s been a bit of a week!
I found out yesterday as I dashed around signing copies of it at Waterstones branches in Bristol (they have selected it as their Thriller of the Month!). Suffice it to say, my heart was bursting yesterday.
This is a HUGE surprise and I am really feeling very honoured to be on the list alongside some amazing other books – including the debuts from authors I’ve been on event panels with over the last year or so (and whose books I have enjoyed), Guy Gunaratne, Kim Sherwood and Mary Lynn Bracht.
Lucy Popescu (chair of the judging panel) said: “This year, we’ve had a bumper crop of entries. Women dominate the longlist – one writer, Norma McMaster, is in her 80s. It’s a real privilege to be able to support a diverse list of debut novelists tackling such wide-ranging subjects.”
The prize is open to any debut novel written in English and published in the UK between January 1 and December 31, 2018.
Inaugurated in 1954, the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award is now in its 65th year, making it the longest-running UK prize for debut fiction and – except for the James Tait Black and the Hawthornden – the oldest literary prize in Britain.
Past winners have included Brian Moore, Alan Sillitoe, Paul Bailey, Gilbert Adair, Nadeem Aslam, Diran Adebayo, Jackie Kay, Susan Fletcher, Nicola Monaghan, Laura Beatty, Anthony Quinn, Jonathan Kemp, Kevin Barry, Ros Barber, Hisayo Rowan Buchanan. Last year’s prize was awarded to Gail Honeyman for Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.
The winning novel is selected by guest adjudicator Louise Doughty from a shortlist drawn up by a panel of Authors’ Club members, chaired by Lucy Popescu.