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TJ GORTON, Only the Dead, Shortlisted: Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award 2020

Congratulations to Ted Gorton, author of Only The Dead, for being shortlisted among London’s literati!

The Authors’ Club announced the shortlist for the annual Best First Novel Award 2020 yesterday. The shortlisted titles are as follows, with the judges’ assessments:

CLAIRE ADAM Golden Child (Faber & Faber)
On a sultry night in Trinidad, an Indian father sets out to find his missing son. Tense, moving and richly atmospheric, it explores how our dreams for our children may be fraught with danger.

GEORGE ALAGIAH, The Burning Land (Canongate)
A first-rate political thriller set in modern-day South Africa. Vividly written and masterfully constructed, Alagiah’s assured debut is full of suspense and sudden drama.

DAMIAN BARR, You Will Be Safe Here (Bloomsbury)
Compelling from start to finish. Even the most threatening characters are sympathetically drawn and the parallel stories form a powerful exploration of Afrikaner identity and toxic masculinity.

JOANNA GLEN, The Other Half of Augusta Hope (Borough Press)
This dazzling tale of a precocious girl’s rites of passage – and her attempts to discover a wider world beyond her family and home town – provokes both tears and laughter, often at the same time.

TJ GORTON, Only the Dead (Quartet)
From a shelled-out house during the Lebanese civil war in the 1980s, an old man looks back on an earlier conflict that shaped his destiny. Gorton’s attention to historical detail is superb.

BETH O’ LEARY The Flatshare (Quercus)
A man and a woman share a flat. One works days, the other nights. They have never met… What ensues provides the basis for a warm, funny, romantic comedy full of grace and humanity

Lucy Popescu (chair of the judging panel) commented: “We have a perfect gender balance. These remarkable debuts cover diverse subjects from South Africa’s troubles to a young woman’s rite of passage, from the Armenian genocide of 1915 to a father’s harrowing decision in Trinidad. The list encompasses romantic love and terrible loss and is truly international in scope. Andrew Miller will have his work cut out in deciding the overall winner.”

authors club 1891

About the Prize:
The prize is open to any debut novel written in English and published in the UK between 1 Jan and 31 Dec 2019. The prize of £2500 exists to support UK-based authors.

Inaugurated in 1954, the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award is now in its 66th 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, Carys Bray, Benjamin Johncock, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, and Gail Honeyman. Last year’s prize was awarded to Guy Gunaratne.

The winning novel is selected by guest adjudicator, Andrew Miller, award winning novelist from a shortlist drawn up by a panel of Authors’ Club members, chaired by Lucy Popescu.

Past adjudicators have included Louise, Doughty, A.L. Kennedy, Vikram Seth, Philip Hensher, Joanne Harris, Deborah Moggach and, going back further, Kingsley Amis and Compton Mackenzie.

The winner will be announced by on Wednesday 22 May.

About the Authors’ Club
Established by Walter Besant in 1891, the Club has provided a social meeting place for writers for 125 years.   www.authorsclub.co.uk

For further info, or to receive a copy of Only The Dead for review, please email georgia@quartetbooks.co.uk