There’s a special pleasure in discovering a fresh and exciting new voice with an author’s first book, so I always particularly enjoy following the Desmond Elliott Prize which honours debut novels. The winner receives £10,000 – which to a first time novelist can give a huge boost to helping them through writing that notoriously difficult second novel. Last year’s winner was Claire Fuller whose novel Our Endless Numbered Days is a thrilling, emotional and beautifully written account of a girl’s abduction and long-term captivity with her father.
This year’s longlist has just been announced and it’s a particularly fantastic group of novels! I’ve read seven out of the ten books. It includes some of my favourites from last year such as Gavin McCrea’s brilliant Mrs Engels. Two on the list are also on this year’s Baileys Prize longlist. This is fitting because it’s a particularly strong list for female authors! Click on the titles below to read my full reviews of these books.
Mrs Engels by Gavin McCrea
The Butcher's Hook by Janet Ellis
Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon
The Weightless World by Anthony Trevelyan
Disclaimer by Renée Knight
The Honours by Tim Clare
The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
The House at the Edge of the World by Julia Rochester
Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh
It's particularly fun following The Desmond Elliott Prize on twitter because their popular #DiscoveraDebut hashtag generates great suggestions of new authors from a wide variety of people.
Have you read any of them? What are some of your favourite debut books?