The shortlist for the Desmond Elliott Prize for New Fiction has been announced, and all three nominated novelists are women.
The £10,000 ($15,700 USD) literary prize is awarded to the best debut novel written in English and published in the UK. Last year’s winner was Eimear McBride’s “A Girl is a Half-formed Thing.” The line-up for this year’s short list, as selected by British and Irish novelists from a longlist of 10 books, is “Elizabeth is Missing” by Emma Healey, “A Song for Issy Bradley” by
Carys Bray and “Our Endless Numbered Days” by Claire Fuller.
Healey’s “Elizabeth is Missing” is a bestselling mystery narrated by an aging sleuth suffering from dementia and haunted by memories of a 70-year-old crime — the disappearance of her best friend.
Bray’s “A Song for Issy Bradley” deals with a family coping with the unexpected death of a child in a devout Mormon community.
Fuller’s “Our Endless Numbered Days” centers on an eight-year-old girl kidnapped by her father. The author began writing literary fiction in her forties after heading a marketing company for 23 years.
“Our shortlist shows that there’s no age limit on being a sparkling new arrival on the literary scene,” said chairwoman of judges Louise Doughty. “It’s fascinating to see that each writer arrived here from slightly unorthodox beginnings, and it’s a testament to the Desmond Elliott Prize that it identifies and rewards the very best new writing talent, whatever the author’s date of birth.”
The winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize will be announced at an awards ceremony on July 1.