The award-winning novelist Kamila Shamsie, who has just won the Women’s Prize for Fiction with Home Fire, and the novelist and non-fiction writer Susan Hill will join Andrew Holgate on the judging panel of The Sunday Times / Peter Frasers + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award, in association with the University of Warwick.
The prize – which rewards the best work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by a British or Irish author aged between 18 and 35 – has become the definitive platform for young writing. Working with a growing network of partners, including the British Council, it provides a vital support system to the very best talent at work now.
The Irish writer Sally Rooney was named last year’s Young Writer of the Year for Conversation with Friends (Faber & Faber), which went on to be shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize, the Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize, and the British Book Awards. Rooney followed Max Porter, who won with his genre-bending Grief is the Thing with Feathers (Faber & Faber), and the poet Sarah Howe, who was awarded in 2015 for her first collection, Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus), which went on to win the T.S. Eliot Prize. This year’s winner will join these three exceptional writers, and a list of alumni that includes writers from Robert Macfarlane and Simon Armitage to Zadie Smith and Sarah Waters.
Generously sponsored by literary agency Peters Fraser + Dunlop, the Young Writer of the Year Award is running in association with the University of Warwick – home to the acclaimed Warwick Writing Programme – who are offering a bespoke 10-week residency for the award’s winner, and a year-long programme of digital support. The British Council is the international partner of the prize, opening doors for the shortlisted authors abroad.
The shortlist of the 2018 prize will be announced on 4 November, the winner revealed with a ceremony at the London Library on 6 December.
Kamila Shamsie is the author of seven novels, most recently Home Fire, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award and won the Women’s Prize for Fiction. In 2013 she was on Granta’s list of Best of Young British Novelists. She grew up in Karachi and now lives in London.
Susan Hill published her first novel in 1961. Her books have won the Whitbread (now Costa), James Tait Black and Somerset Maugham Prizes and were shortlisted for the Man Booker. The play adapted from her best-selling ghost story The Woman in Black has been running in London’s West End for 30 years. Susan has been a judge for most British book prizes, and was made a CBE in 2012 for services to literature.
Andrew Holgate has been the Literary Editor of The Sunday Times for nine years, and before that was the Deputy Literary Editor for the same number of years. He has worked in bookselling, publishing and literary journalism, and has judged many other prizes, including the Samuel Johnson Award and the Somerset Maugham.
Kamila Shamsie said: “There’s a particular excitement to discovering a new voice in literature – the freshness and the promise of greater works to come make for a thrilling combination. I’m very much looking forward to having many such moments of excitement when reading through the prize submissions. It’s a privilege to play a role in alerting many more people to the newest writer in the glittering firmament of those who have won this award.”
Susan Hill said: “When I started out in 1958 there were no such prizes but what I did receive was massive encouragement and support from other writers and this prize gives that too, and more. Young writers need to feel valued and given a kick-start by just such a prize as this. I am honoured to be a judge of this as it is probably more important than most.”