Article published on April 5, 2016.
So I went AWOL for a couple of weeks and it seems that every book award going decided to announce a longlist or shortlist – that’ll teach me. Somewhat belatedly therefore this is a sort of run-through of all that’s gone on in book awards land, beginning with the very recent announcement of the Desmond Elliott Prize Longlist, for a first novel written in English and published in the UK. Lisa McInerney, author of The Glorious Heresies, and Julia Rochester, author of The House at the Edge of the World, are included in the longlist following up their nominations earlier this month for the Baileys Prize, as are two authors nominated for last year’s Costa First Novel Award: Sara Baume (Spill Simmer Falter Wither) and Tasha Kavanagh (Things We Have in Common). Renée Knight’s much-lauded debut Disclaimer from last year, Tim Clare’s The Honours and Anthony Trevelyan’s The Weightless World, join new books by Joanna Cannon (The Trouble with Goats and Sheep) and Janet Ellis (The Butcher’s Hook) published this year that have been making considerable waves. And last but no means least on the ten-strong longlist is Gavin McCrea’s Mrs Engels, which leads us nicely into the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, for which McCrea receives another nomination, this time alongside fellow debutante, and the only female shortlisted author, Lucy Treloar with Salt Creek. Joining them are heavyweights of the literary scene, Allan Massie (End Games in Bordeaux), Simon Mawer (Tightrope), William Boyd (Sweet Caress) and, thankfully as a nice segue into the next awards, Patrick Gale (A Place Called Winter).
Indeed, Patrick Gale is one of ten authors nominated in this year’s adult category of the Independent Bookshop Week (IBW) Book Awards, a mightily impressive line-up that includes in its ranks three of last year’s Costa category winners: Kate Atkinson (A God in Ruins), Andrea Wulf (The Invention of Nature) and Andrew Michael Hurley (The Loney), as well as Anne Tyler’s Man Booker and Baileys Prize 2015 shortlisted title A Spool of Blue Thread and this year’s Baileys nominee Anne Enright’s The Green Road. Four strong non-fiction contenders complete the line-up, including James Rebank (The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District), Robert Penn (The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees), Mary Beard (SPQR), and Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling).
The Children’s Fiction line-up is likely to be just as hotly contended – with children’s laureate Chris Riddell (Goth Girl and the Wuthering Fright), taking on this year’s Waterstone’s Prize Winner David Solomons (My Brother is a Superhero) and Carnegie and Costa winner Patrick Ness (The Rest of Us Just Live Here). Another Carnegie winner Frank Cottrell Boyce is nominated for The Astounding Broccoli Boy, whilst Kate Greenaway winner Shirley Hughes is nominated for Whistling in the Wind. How to Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell’s latest – How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury – lines up alongside Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre’s Pugs of the Frozen North, Lara Williamson’s The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair, David Baddiel’s The Person Controller, Ross Welford’s Time Travelling with a Hamster, Sarah Crossan’s One and not to forget, the master of children’s fiction himself, Michael Morpurgo. The final category of Children’s Picture Book includes: What the Ladybird Heard Next – Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks; GRRRRR! – Rob Biddulph; Mog and Barnaby – Judith Kerr; Tree – Patricia Hegarty and Britta Teckentrup; Stanley the Amazing Knitting Cat – Emily MacKenzie; The Bear Who Went Boo – David Walliams & Tony Ross; The Mouse who Reached the Sky – Petr; Vikings in the Supermarket – Nick Sharratt; Warning! This Book May Contain Rabbits – Tim Warnes; I’m a Girl – Yasmeen Ismail; The Bear and the Piano – David Litchfield; and Grandad’s Island – Benji Davies.
In similar vein, we’ve also seen the announcement of the four category nominations for the British Book Industry Awards. The children’s category includes three of the authors nominated for the IBW awards, David Solomons, Judith Kerr (Mog’s Christmas Calamity) and David Walliams (Grandpa’s Great Escape). Internet sensation Joe Sugg (Username: Evie) lines up against literary stalwart, the late Terry Pratchett (The Shepherd’s Crown). JK Rowling and Jim Kay are nominated for the illustrated edition of Harry Potter, whilst Frances Hardinge continues the quest for world literary domination with yet another nomination for her superb The Lie Tree. And not satisfied with making just one shortlist, Matt Haig is included in both the children’s category for A Boy Called Christmas and the non-fiction category for Reasons to Stay Alive. Joining Matt in the battle for the Non-Fiction Book of the Year title are IBW-nominated Mary Beard and Bill Bryson. Three food/health-related books are thrown into the mix: Lean In 15 by Joe Wicks, Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward; Gut by Giulia Enders and David Shaw. Scandinavian sensation Norwegian Wood by Lars Mitting and Robert Ferguson makes up the shortlist with Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris’ Ladybird Books. Debut Fiction Book of the Year includes offerings by Andrew Michael Hurley and Renée Knight. Kate Hamer’s inclusion for The Girl in the Red Coat follows on the back of her Costa First Novel shortlisting, whilst Max Porter (Grief is the Thing With Feathers) follows up his inclusion on the Goldsmiths Prize and Guardian First Book Award shortlists, whilst Chigozie Obioma (The Fisherman) follows up his inclusion on the Man Booker and Guardian First Book shortlists. Strong debuts from Ruth Ware (In a Dark, Dark Wood), Laura Barnett (The Versions of Us) and Clare Mackintosh (I Let You Go) complete the line-up. In the final category, Fiction Book of the Year, Kate Atkinson and Anne Enright add to their Baileys nominations, and are joined by fellow Baileys longlisted author Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life). There’s a strong contingent of popular fiction represented by EL James (Grey), Jojo Moyes (After You) and last year’s runaway (excuse the pun) success, Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train). Two heavy-hitters complete the line-up, Kazuo Ishiguro (The Buried Giant) and the late Harper Lee (Go Set a Watchman).
The Dylan Thomas Prize recently announced its shortlist, too, for the best work of English-language fiction by an author aged 39 or under. Max Porter adds another nomination to his growing list, as do Man Booker nominee Sunjeev Sahota (The Year of the Runaways) and Guardian First Book Award poet Andrew Macmillan (Physical). It’s an eclectic bunch that makes up the shortlist, with poetry further represented by Frances Leviston (Disinformation), Tania James’s novel The Tusk That Did the Damage and a short story collection, Pond, by Claire-Louise Bennett.
The Wodehouse Prize, which celebrates comic fiction, announced a shortlist of five nominees, including a former winner, and the only female to have taken the prize in its 16-year history, Marina Lewycka with The Lubetkin Legacy. Baileys longlisted Hannah Rothschild joins Lewycka as the second female nominee with her novel The Improbability of Love. Whilst the three-strong male representatives are Paul Beatty (The Sellout), Paul Murray (The Mark and The Void) and John O’Farrell (There’s Only Two David Beckhams). A short but sweet selection for fans of comic fiction.
From comedy to medicine, this year’s Wellcome Prize shortlist which acknowledges those works that cover aspects of medicine, consists of two works of fiction and four non-fiction offerings. The former is represented by Playthings by Alex Pheby which focuses on schizophrenia, while Sarah Moss’s Signs for Lost Children ‘recounts the pioneering work of an early female medic’. Two of the non-fiction nominees, Amy Liptrot’s The Outrun and Cathy Rentzenbrink’s The Last Act of Love are memoirs, whilst the final two contenders include a study of autism – Neurotribes by Steve Silberman – and a study of psychosomatic illness – It’s All in Your Head by Suzanne O’Sullivan.
And from medicine to music, a quick mention of the 2016 Penderyn Music Book Prize shortlist which features: Detroit 67: The Year That Changed Soul – Stuart Cosgrove; Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink – Elvis Costello; Electric Shock: From The Gramophone To The Iphone – 125 Years Of Pop Music – Peter Doggett; 1966: The Year The Decade Exploded – Jon Savage; M Train – Patti Smith; and Naked at The Albert Hall: The Inside Story Of Singing – Tracey Thorn.
Turning to children’s fiction and we’ve been virtually awash with nominations and shortlists in the past couple of weeks, following on from the announcement of the second annual YA Prize at the beginning of the month. Hot on its heels came the CILIP Carnegie Medal shortlist, which saw three of the YA Prize shortlisted authors included in the line-up: Sarah Crossan (One), Patrick Ness (The Rest of Us Just Live Here), and yes, you guessed it, Frances Hardinge. The winner of the 2014 Costa Children’s Prize Five Children on the Western Front (Kate Saunders) is also nominated as well as 2015 YA Prize nominee The Ghosts of Heaven (Marcus Sedgwick). Jenny Valentine’s Fire Colour One, Nick Lake’s There Will be Lies and Robin Talley’s Lies We Tell Ourselves round off a remarkable shortlist. As for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for an illustrated work, the line-up includes: Willy’s Stories – Anthony Browne; There’s a Bear on My Chair – Ross Collins; Once Upon an Alphabet – Oliver Jeffers; Sam and Dave Dig a Hole – Jon Klassen; Something About a Bear – Jackie Morris; Captain Jack and the Pirates – Helen Oxenbury; The Sleeper and the Spindle – Chris Riddell; and Footpath Flowers – Sydney Smith.
Oliver Jeffers features twice on the Children’s Book Ireland Book of the Year Shortlist too for The Day the Crayons Came Home, and as illustrator of Eoin Colfer’s Imaginary Fred. Sarah Crossan notches up another nomination, as does YA Prize favourite Louise O’Neill for Asking For It. The other nominees include: The Boy at the Top of the Mountain – John Boyne; Gulliver, illustrated by Lauren O’Neill; Ná Gabh ar Scoil written by Máire Zepf, illustrated by Tarsila Krüse; Irelandopedia written by John Burke, illustrated by Fatti Burke; and The Wordsmith by Patricia Forde.
The UK Literacy Association announced their three category shortlists. For ages 3-6, the nominees are: This Book Just Ate My Dog! by Richard Byrne (author/illustrator); The Something by Rebecca Cobb (author /illustrator); I am Henry Finch by Alexis Deacon (author) and Viviane Schwarz (illustrator); The Dad with 10 Children by Bénédicte Guettier (author/Illustrator); On Sudden Hill by Linda Sarah (author) and Benji Davies (illustrator); and Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T Smith (author/illustrator). The 7-11 age category includes: The Fish in the Bathtub by Eoin Colfer (author) and Peter Bailey (illustrator); Hercufleas by Sam Gayton and Peter Cottrill (illustrator); The Imaginary by A.F Harrold (author) and Emily Gravett (illustrator); The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel; The Pilot and the Little Prince by Peter Sís; Atlas of Adventures by Rachel Williams (author) and Lucy Leatherland (illustrator). And the final category of 12-16+ includes The Door that Led to Where by Sally Gardner; The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge; There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake; An Island of Our Own by Sally Nicholls; All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven; and The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick.
And finally if that’s not enough for you to choose from, whatever your age and tastes, there are two great longlists for the Best Translated Book Awards for Fiction and Poetry. The Fiction longlist comprises twenty-five titles, covering everything from French to Korean. In full, it is:
A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa, translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn
Arvida by Samuel Archibald, translated from the French by Donald Winkler
Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, translated from the Korean by Sora Kim-Russell
The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud, translated from the French by John Cullen
French Perfume by Amir Tag Elsir, translated from the Arabic by William M. Hutchins
The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein
Sphinx by Anne Garréta, translated from the French by Emma Ramadan
The Physics of Sorrow by Georgi Gospodinov, translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel
Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera, translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman
The Sleep of the Righteous by Wolfgang Hilbig, translated from the German by Isabel Fargo Cole
Moods by Yoel Hoffmann, translated from the Hebrew by Peter Cole
Beauty Is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan, translated from the Indonesian by Annie Tucker
The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector, translated from the Portuguese by Katrina Dodson
The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney
Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, translated from the French by Roland Glasser
The Body Where I Was Born by Guadalupe Nettel, translated from the Spanish by J. T. Lichtenstein
The Things We Don’t Do by Andrés Neuman, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia
I Refuse by Per Petterson, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett
War, So Much War by Mercè Rodoreda, translated from the Catalan by Maruxa Relaño and Martha Tennent
One Out of Two by Daniel Sada, translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver
Berlin by Aleš Šteger, translated from the Slovene by Brian Henry, Forrest Gander, and Aljaž Kovac
The Big Green Tent by Ludmila Ulitskaya, translated from the Russian by Polly Gannon
Murder Most Serene by Gabrielle Wittkop, translated from the French by Louise Rogers Lalaurie
The Four Books by Yan Lianke, translated from the Chinese by Carlos Rojas
Mirages of the Mind by Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi, translated from the Urdu by Matt Reeck and Aftab Ahmad
And the poetry longlist of ten lines up as follows:
A Science Not for the Earth: Selected Poems and Letters by Yevgeny Baratynsky, translated from the Russian by Rawley Grau
Minute-Operas by Frédéric Forte, translated from the French by Daniel Levin Becker, Ian Monk, Michelle Noteboom, and Jean-Jacques Poucel
Rilke Shake by Angélica Freitas, translated from the Portuguese by Hilary Kaplan
Wild Words: Four Tamil Poets, edited and translated from the Tamil by Lakshmi Holmström
Empty Chairs: Selected Poems by Liu Xia, translated from the Chinese by Ming Di and Jennifer Stern
Load Poems Like Guns: Women’s Poetry from Herat, Afghanistan, edited and translated from the Persian by Farzana Marie
Silvina Ocampo by Silvina Ocampo, translated from the Spanish by Jason Weiss
The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems by Natalia Toledo, translated from the Spanish and Isthmus Zapotec by Clare Sullivan
The Nomads, My Brothers, Go Out to Drink from the Big Dipper by Abdourahman A. Waberi, translated from the French by Nancy Naomi Carlson
Sea Summit by Yi Lu, translated from the Chinese by Fiona Sze-Lorrain (China, Milkweed)
And that, as they say, is all folks. You’ll excuse me for breaking off somewhat abruptly but I’ve just realised I’ve got a bit of reading to do!
Seven Hanged by Leonid Andreyev