What are you working on today?
I am nearing the end of a novel set in Austria in 1933. It follows on from Human Traces, but is a stand-alone story, not a sequel.
What excites you about judging the 2020 Sunday Times / University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award?
The chance of being among the first to see new talent. Of being able to boast about that later when the winner is well known.
What interests you about new writing in 2020?
I’m interested to see if young writers can stand outside their personal experience and the concerns of the present day.
What are you hoping for in the submissions this year, and what are you looking for in an emerging writer?
Style, attention to words, the sense that even if it reads smoothly it has been ferociously worked at.
Why is it important that we support new voices, at this point in time in particular?
Writing requires an absurd degree of self belief. Usually it is only absurd people who have that self-belief, and they are not good writers. Talented people are often modest, so need much encouragement.
What are you reading at the moment and what do you like about it?
The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann. It dares to be itself.
Sebastian Faulks is a judge for the 2020 Young Writer of the Year Award. The submission period for this year’s prize closes on Monday 22 June. Enter now