The Desmond Elliott Prize 2020 longlist was recently announced and 10 books made it into the reckoning. It consists of The Art of the Body by Alex Allison (Little Brown), The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré (Sceptre), Nobber by Oisín Fagan (JM Originals) The Parisian by Isabella Hammad (Jonathan Cape), Keeper by Jessica Moor (Penguin), The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu (Dialogue Books), That Reminds Me by Derek Owusu (#Merky Books), Asghar and Zahra by Sameer Rahim (JM Originals), Kozlowski by Jane Rogoyska (Holland House Books) and Love and other Thought Experiments by Sophie Ward (Corsair).
Here it is, the Desmond Elliott Award 2020 longlist! 🎉 Congratulations to our 10 selected writers and thank you to everyone that applied. We’re delighted to be running the award for the first time this year #DEP20 https://t.co/Yw71LynVNy pic.twitter.com/GTUfiLJIvA
— National Centre for Writing (@WritersCentre) April 7, 2020
“We’re delighted to present such a compelling longlist of debut novels for our inaugural year at the helm of the Desmond Elliott. Here are ten of the most outstanding first novels of 2020 – bold, brave, taking risks and asking questions of us and our times: these are books that demand to be read and new voices that need to be heard and shared. We don’t envy the judges their task but have no doubt that in Preti, Sonia and Sinéad we have three exceptional readers for the job ahead,” Peggy Hughes, Programme Director at the National Centre for Writing said.
“Each book on the Desmond Elliot Prize 2020 longlist has earned its place for its love of language, its crafting of a sentence: for its approach to its subject matter and its creation of complex characters and an immersive world. That world might be full of terrors, the potential of love or exist in the past, recognisable present or longed-for future: the list has all of these. It is excellent to see that it reflects the range and depth of current concerns – that this group of debut writers are as clear-eyed, and as passionate and political as our times demand,” Preti Taneja, this year’s chair of judges said.
“There are ten names here that many readers will not have encountered yet, and that is what makes the Desmond Elliot Prize 2020 unique. As a judging panel we now have an exciting challenge to choose a shortlist of three and a winner, and we are very proud to begin with this longlist,” the author added.
Started in 2007, it is considered one of the prestigious awards for first-time novelists. It was created in memory of literary agent Desmond Elliott and the winner is given prize money worth £10,000.
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