‘The UK’s most prestigious award for first-time novelists.’

The Telegraph

Presented by the National Centre for Writing

LONGLIST

Discover the ten titles selected by this year’s judges for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2022 longlist.

Somebody Loves You

Somebody Loves You

Mona Arshi

Somebody Loves You is alive with rare subtlety and tensile strength, and infused with the kind of beauty that brings every quiet moment into sharp relief.’ – Preti Taneja

Assembly

Assembly

Natasha Brown

‘Natasha Brown’s exquisite prose, daring structure and understated elegance are utterly captivating. She is a stunning new writer.’ – Bernardine Evaristo

Iron Annie

Iron Annie

Luke Cassidy

‘A queer underworld Thelma & Louise with better jokes […] Cassidy keeps tight control of a story that’s simultaneously state of the nation, romance and crime.’ – Sarah Moss, Irish Times

Lessons in Love and Other Crimes

Lessons in Love and Other Crimes

Elizabeth Chakrabarty

‘One of the most gripping and powerful books I’ve ever read; I feel so represented as a queer, brown woman.’ – Nikita Gill, author of Wild Embers

Keeping the House

Keeping the House

Tice Cin

‘Tice Cin has arrived. With a style all her own and a confidence that radiates off each page, poetry that renders settings and characters incredibly vivid. No impression will escape you.’ – Derek Owusu, author of That Reminds Me

Hourglass

Hourglass

Keiran Goddard

‘This book glows in the heart of the reader’ – Max Porter, author of Lanny

Violets

Violets

Alex Hyde

‘Beautiful, inventive, and deeply moving… captured my heart and imagination’ – Liz Berry

Fault Lines

Fault Lines

Emily Itami

‘A brilliant modern love story. I found it atmospheric and transporting but also wise, clever and universal in its exploration of love, family and identity. I loved it.’ – Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love

Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies

Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies

Maddie Mortimer

‘Here is a book to dance and sing about. An extraordinary, kaleidoscopic dive into language.’ – Daisy Johnson, author of Sisters

Moth

Melody Razak

‘Every character springs from the page, involving the reader completely in their triumphs and sufferings – the writer’s skill and sympathy are immense. I loved it.’ – Clare Chambers, author of Small Pleasures

JUDGES

The judges for the 2022 Desmond Elliott Prize are Derek Owusu (chair), Symeon Brown and Lyndsey Fineran.

Derek Owusu (Chair)

Derek Owusu is an award-winning writer and poet from North London. He discovered his passion for literature late in life while studying exercise science at university. Unable to afford a change of degree, he began reading voraciously and sneaking into English Literature lectures at the University of Manchester.

In 2019, Owusu collated, edited and contributed to SAFE: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space, an anthology exploring the experiences of Black men in Britain.

His first novel, That Reminds Me, and the first work of fiction to be published by Stormzy’s Merky Books imprint, won the Desmond Elliott Prize for debut fiction, the judges praising it as a ‘transcendent work of literature.’ His second solo work, Losing The Plot, is due to be published in 2022 with Canongate Books. Owusu was also one of the founding members of the Black Writers Guild, whose formation was due to the lack of representation and inequalities that exist within mainstream publishing in the UK. Website / Twitter

Derek says:

‘It’s an honour to judge any prize but it’s even more special to work with a prize that did so much for my career and continues to do so for others. And I’m very happy I can be a part of that – I’m really looking forward to reading so many incredible books.’

Symeon Brown

Symeon Brown is an award-winning news correspondent on Channel 4 News, covering culture and home affairs. His writing been shortlisted for the Orwell Prize and the British Journalism Awards. He is also the curator of the Good Readers Book Club, reviewing and interviewing leading British literary talent. He was also editor-in-chief of Channel 4’s News critically acclaimed #blacktofront season. His debut book, Get Rich Or Lie Trying, is published by Atlantic Books in March 2022. Twitter

 

Lyndsey Fineran

Lyndsey Fineran is the Programme & Commissions Manager for The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival – the oldest, and one of the largest, book festivals in the world. In her time with the Festival she has been responsible for building a live literature programme, talent development (including founding the flagship ‘Debuts and Cocktails’ event which champions debut novelists), commissions, and international partnerships, and was part of the team that delivered a pioneering hybrid edition of the 2020 Festival that won ‘Event of the Year’ at The Bookseller’s FutureBook Awards, as well as three separate ‘Event of the Year’ wins at the SoGlos Awards between 2018 and 2021.

Originally from the North-East and now Bristol based, she holds degrees in Literature from Durham and St Andrews Universities, is on the board of the British Arts Festivals Association, chairs literary events and is a Society of Young Publishers Mentor. In 2019 she was selected for The Bookseller’s Rising Stars programme, which identifies and champions the future leaders of the book industry and was recently named as one of The Top 50 Most Inspirational Women in Gloucestershire in 2021 by SoGlos. Twitter

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