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 2016:
- An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It by Jessie Greengrass (John Murray Originals)
- Physical by Andrew McMillan (Cape Poetry)
- Grief is the thing with feathers by Max Porter (Faber)
- The Ecliptic by Benjamin Wood (Scribner)
Sponsored by literary agency Peters Fraser + Dunlop, the prize is awarded annually to the best work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by a British or Irish author aged between 18 and 35, and has gained attention and acclaim across the publishing industry and press. £5,000 is given to the overall winner and £500 to each of the three runners-up.
The 2016 shortlist showcases the breadth of experimentation underway in contemporary British writing – poetry, short stories and novels are all represented – with Jessie Greengrass’ time-spanning short story collection An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It (John Murray Originals); Andrew McMillan’s award-winning debut poetry collection on male desire, Physical (Cape Poetry); Max Porter’s bestselling genre-bending debut Grief is the thing with feathers (Faber); and Benjamin Wood’s immersive second novel The Ecliptic (Scribner) all in contention for the overall award.
The shortlist was chosen by a judging panel comprised of acclaimed broadcaster James Naughtie, award winning historian Stella Tillyard, and The Sunday Times literary editor Andrew Holgate.
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.
Following a seven year break, the prestigious award returned with a bang last year, awarding debut poet Sarah Howe the top prize for her phenomenal first collection, Loop of Jade, which then went on to win the country’s leading prize for poetry, the T.S. Eliot Prize.
Other past winners are: 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).
For the first time, this year’s award will also be chronicled by an official shadow judging panel made up of some of the country’s leading book bloggers: Eric Karl Andersen (lonesomereader.com), Kim Forrester (readingmattersblog.com), Naomi Frisby (thewritesofwoman.wordpress.com), Charlie Place (wormhole.carnelianvalley.com), and Simon Savidge (savidgereads.wordpress.com).
The winner of The Sunday Times / Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award 2016 will be revealed on Thursday 8 December.
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