Monday 10 March 2014

Two debut novelists on Folio Prize shortlist

The winner of the newly established literary prize The Folio Prize will be announced on March 10th. Set up to rival the long-established Man Booker Prize amid claims that the Booker Prize’s focus on ‘readability’ was leading to a ‘dumbing down’ of standards, the founders of the award said that their mission was to “establish a clear and uncompromising standard of excellence” for books. The £40,000 award is the first major books award to consider English language writing from all over the world. It is open to any English language fictional book published in the UK during a given year, regardless of form, genre or the author’s country of origin.

The list is dominated by writers from North America, with five US and one Canadian, Anne Carson, making up the contenders. Jane Gardam is the only English author on the shortlist. The final author is Eimear McBride who was born in Liverpool but grew up in the West of Ireland. Her book A Girl is a Half-formed Thing tells of a young woman's relationship with a brother still afflicted by a childhood brain tumour. Considered too experimental, it took McBride nine years to find a publisher. The other debut novelist on the shortlist is Sergio De La Pava whose book first appeared as a self-published work in 2008.

The eight books in contention for this year’s prize are:
Red Doc by Anne Carson
Schroder by Amity Gaige
Last Friends by Jane Gardam
Benediction by Kent Haruf
The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava
Tenth of December by George Saunders
The winner of the £40,000 prize will be announced on 10 March.

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