Four of the UK and Ireland’s best young writers have been named on the shortlist for The Sunday Times / Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award 2015
Ben Fergusson for The Spring of Kasper Meier (Little, Brown)
Sarah Howe for Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus)
Sunjeev Sahota for The Year of the Runaways (Picador)
Sara Taylor for The Shore (William Heineman)
Twenty-five years old this year, the newly relaunched award recognises the best literary work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by a British or Irish writer of 35 and under. £5,000 is given to the winner, and £500 to each of the three runners-up.
Covering a rich variety of genres and forms, the 2015 shortlist includes: Ben Fergusson with his critically acclaimed historical fiction debut, The Spring of Kasper Meier; Sarah Howe and her poetic exploration of heritage and identity, Loop of Jade; Sunjeev Sahota with his second novel, the Man Booker shortlisted The Year of the Runaways, a timely take on the British immigrant experience; and Sara Taylor’s Baileys-nominated collection of interlinked short stories, The Shore.
The shortlist successfully showcases the breadth and depth of young writing today, drawn up by a judging panel comprised of novelist and winner of the award in 2000, Sarah Waters; The Sunday Times Literary Editor Andrew Holgate; and Chief Fiction Reviewer Peter Kemp.
Commenting on the shortlist, award judge, author and previous winner, Sarah Waters, said:
“This is a wonderful line-up of books from four extremely talented writers. I think what’s particularly thrilling is the range of work on display here, as well as its quality. Each of these books confronts the complexities of life, but each has its own distinct style, its own energy. Collectively, they offer a very exciting snapshot of the literary scene.”
Andrew Holgate, award judge and literary editor at The Sunday Times, said:
“So many things about the award in its new incarnation are better than I could possibly have hoped for: the huge response by publishers and writers to the initial call-in; the immense support provided by Peters Fraser & Dunlop; the enthusiastic way in which the prize has been received; and the sheer quality of this shortlist, which is better than any previous shortlist I can remember for the award. The diversity of genres – poetry, historical thriller, novel and linked short stories – speaks volumes for the adventurous nature of much modern writing, and the variety of themes and approaches is immensely impressive. There is such quality here, and it’s a shortlist to be proud of.”
Since it began in 1991, the award has had a striking impact, boasting a stellar list of alumni that have gone on to become leading lights of contemporary literature.
Previous winners include: Ross Raisin, God’s Own Country (2009); Adam Foulds, The Truth About These Strange Times (2008); Naomi Alderman, Disobedience (2007), Robert Macfarlane, Mountains of the Mind: a History of a Fascination (2004); William Fiennes, The Snow Geese (2003); Zadie Smith, White Teeth (2001); Sarah Waters, Affinity (2000); Paul Farley, The Boy from the Chemist is Here to See You (1999); Patrick French, Liberty or Death: India’s Journey to Independence and Division (1998); Francis Spufford, I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination (1997); Katherine Pierpoint, Truffle Beds (1996); Andrew Cowan, Pig (1995); William Dalrymple, City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi (1994); Simon Armitage, Kid (1993); Caryl Phillips, Cambridge (1992); and Helen Simpson, Four Bare Legs in a Bed and Other Stories (1991).
The winner of The Sunday Times / Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award 2015 will be revealed on Thursday 10 December.