Yesterday the shortlist for The Times/Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award was announced. It sure is an exciting one:
The Spring of Kasper Meier by Ben Fergusson
Loop of Jade by Sarah Howe
The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota
The Shore by Sara Taylor
I'm really intrigued by this shortlist and thoroughly impressed at its variety. It's got poetry and short stories alongside novels, which is interesting in itself and raises a few questions about whether all three writing styles can be judged on the same lines. I'm still on the fence about that and looking forward to reading the shortlist to find an answer.
I've only come across of two of these titles and shockingly read none. I'm definitely aiming to read a couple before the winner is announced on 10th December and I'm pretty sure I'll be starting with The Spring of Kasper Meier - I never can resist a historical novel that's to closely linked to either world war. I have read several rave reviews of The Shore so I suspect that will be the next one I move on to.
I hadn't heard of this award before a few weeks ago so I was most surprised to find it has actually been around for twenty-five years. It has been on hiatus since 2009 when Ross Raisin won with God's Own Country, which makes this year's prize a particularly big deal. The newly relaunched award aims to recognise the best literary works of fiction, non-fiction or poetry written by British or Irish writers under the age of 35. Previous winners include Sarah Waters (whom I adore), Naomi Alderman, Zadie Smith and Simon Armitage - this year's winner will be in good company!
The winner of the award will be announced on December 10th.
What do you think of this shortlist?