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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

DHA MD Lizzy Kremer on 90 years of DHA

DHA’s Managing Director, Lizzy Kremer is featured on the cover of the latest issue of The Bookseller, to mark DHA’s recent rebrand and the agency’s upcoming 90th birthday. Lizzy celebrated the achievements of DHA clients and agents and discussed the future of the business. Lizzy was also asked about her views on some of the significant recent developments in the publishing industry, including the launch of audiobooks on Spotify and the use of AI in publishing.

On Spotify, Lizzy reaffirmed DHA’s approach of “see[ing] ourselves as allies with publishers in their success” and in encouraging competitive markets, but stressed the need to look closely at data to assess the impact of Spotify on other format sales. In particular, Lizzy emphasised her concerns about the loss of the connection between the desire to read and the act of purchase because the business is economically dependent on book sales not on ‘pages read’. As such, while she was “in favour of the strategic use of platforms”, she believes that “when the platform becomes king, that is usually to the disadvantage of the creator.” This has fed into DHA’s current author-centred response to the Spotify deals made by publishers.

Lizzy also set out her views about the impact of AI on the publishing industry, affirming unequivocally that “protecting copyright and protecting creators” is “absolutely fundamental to our livelihoods.” As such, while publishers were in theory free to adapt their systems to use AI in their services if they wished, DHA remains “guarded” and concerned by any software that uses or has used authors’ work to create competitive works or to replace the work of human creators.

This is in line with Lizzy’s assertion throughout her interview that what lies at the absolute core at DHA is ”unseen advocacy”, and “our absolute responsibility to protect [our authors]”, no matter how big or small their deals. Recognising that writers are not just creators but “business partners”, Lizzy also maintained that “not to be numerate and be able to interrogate the business of publishing seems … derelict.”

As for the future of the business, Lizzy expressed her immense pride in all of her DHA colleagues and the “incredible systems” and efficiency that the agency maintains, which collectively contribute to sustaining the agency’s stability and success. “Whenever I go to …a publishing party,” Lizzy says, “I just end up talking about all my colleagues and how… proud I am of everything they do.”

Read Lizzy’s full interview here.

Benjamin Myers’s Cuddy is on the RSL Ondaatje Prize longlist

Benjamin Myers‘s Cuddy has been longlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize, annual award of £10,000 for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place.

This year marks the prize’s 20th anniversary. First awarded in 2004, the premise and broad remit of the Prize creates unique lists of outstanding works and authors that you would not usually find sitting side by side. Previous winners include Lea Ypi, Edmund de Waal and Hisham Matar.

Huge congratulations to Ben and the other 13 longlisted authors, chosen by judges Jan Carson, Xialou Guo, and Francis Spufford.

Santanu Bhattacharya and Jacqueline Crooks are on the Authors’ Book Club Best Debut First Award 2024 shortlist

Santanu Bhattacharya‘s One Small Voice (Fig Tree) and Jacqueline CrooksFire Rush (Jonathan Cape) are two of the six titles shortlisted for this Authors’ Book Club Best Debut First Award.

The prize of £2,500 aims to support UK-based authors, publishers and agents and the winning novel must originate in the UK and not have been published anywhere else in the world before its UK publication.

The winning novel will be selected by journalist and broadcaster Samira Ahmed — a guest adjudicator — and announced at a dinner at the National Liberal Club in London on 22 May 2024.

Katharina Volckmer’s The Appointment will return to the stage at the Teatro Franco Parenti this April

Adapted and directed by Fabio Cherstich, the bold and powerful production returns to the stage from the 3 to the 11 of April 2024 following the immensely successful run in 2021. For more information and tickets, click here.

The Appointment was Katharina’s debut novel which has now been translated into 12 different languages and has been staged and broadcast on the radio multiple times.

The Appointment situates itself in a well-appointed examination in London, where we meet aa young woman as she  unburdens herself to a certain Dr Seligman. Though she can barely see above his head, she holds forth about her life and desires, and her struggles with her sexuality and identity. Born and raised in Germany, she has been living in London for several years, determined to break free from her family origins and her haunted homeland.

In a monologue that is both razor-sharp and subversively funny, she takes us on a wide-ranging journey from outre sexual fantasies and overbearing mothers to the medicinal properties of squirrel tails and the enduring legacy of shame. With The Appointment, her audacious debut novel, Katharina Volckmer challenges our notions of what is fluid and what is fixed and injects a dose of Bernhardian snark into contemporary British fiction.

Elizabeth McCracken wins the 2024 Wingate Literary Prize

Elizabeth McCracken’s The Hero of This Book (Jonathan Cape) has won the Wingate Literary Prize, which is awarded each year to the best fiction or non-fiction book ‘to translate the idea of Jewishness to the general reader’. The brilliantly original, tender and comic novel takes the author-narrator’s Jewish mother as its subject, and interrogates grief, family relationships and what it means to write another’s life.

The judging panel, comprised of Benjamin Markovits, Ashley Hickson-Lovence, Natasha Solomons and Rabbi Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz, said of the book: ‘In a timely and timeless fashion, McCracken’s powerful writing lets you be privy to secrets you just want to shout about. A thoroughly involving read that wrestles with memory, illness, place and identity; The Hero of This Book is moving in every sense.’

Also shortlisted for the prize were Your Hearts, Your Scars by Adina Talve-Goodman, The Dissident by Paul Goldberg, Still Pictures by Janet Malcolm, Kosher Soul by Michael Twitty, and One Hundred Saturdays by Michael Frank.

Jacqueline Wilson revisits the Girls series in her new adult novel

Jacqueline Wilson returns to the Girls series in a new adult novel, Think Again, publishing in September 2024 with Transworld. The novel brings back some of her most memorable characters and follows them through the trials and tribulations of adult life.

In 1997, Jacqueline Wilson published the first title, Girls in Love, in what was to become a best-selling four book series charting the lives, loves and tribulations of three teenage friends, Ellie, Magda and Nadine.  Now, writing for adult readers, Jacqueline Wilson revisits her main characters as they navigate their lives as late thirty-somethings.

Being an adult isn’t quite what Ellie Allard dreamed it would be when she was 14 years old. Though she’s got her beautiful daughter Lottie, life-long best friends Magda and Nadine and her trusty cat Stella, her love life is non-existent and she feels like she’s been living on auto-pilot, just grateful to be able to afford the rent on her pokey little flat. But this year, on her birthday, the universe seems to decide it’s time for all that to change – whether Ellie wants it to or not. As she navigates new, exciting and often choppy waters, she’s about to discover that life will never stop surprising you – if only you let it.

The Girls novels will be reissued by their original publisher, Transworld.

Cape wins Kae Tempest’s new novel Having Spent Life Seeking in a major seven-way auction

Having Spent Life Seeking, the groundbreaking new novel by award-winning writer and musician Kae Tempest, has been acquired from Nicola Chang by Jonathan Cape in a competitive seven-way auction. Publishing in 2026, Having Spent Life Seeking is the artist’s first novel in nearly ten years, exploring love and courage, the human will to change and the power of redemption and compassion.

“It is 2025. Rothko has been out of prison for six months and today is the first day of the rest of their life, a life which they are trying to put back together after losing sight of it 20 years ago. But everywhere they turn, they keep coming up against the past.

Back in 2005, 15-year-old Rothko is on the verge of getting kicked out of school. Nothing in their life makes sense to them apart from Dionne Troy – the girl from school who kisses Rothko like there’s nothing wrong with them. A couple of wrong turns set in motion a chain of events that will dictate the course of Rothko’s life – and the lives of those around them – forever.”

Tempest said: “I’ve given everything to this novel. It’s precious to me and I was so protective over the characters as I was writing it, but Cape felt like the perfect home for them, for the book and for me.”

Marošević said: “Having Spent Life Seeking is a landmark work of British fiction, a liberatory novel about what it means for a person to be allowed to transform, come into themselves and love. This is a novel that transcends convention and commands language into new, supple, capacious forms and I know it will heal hearts and change lives. We’re so proud to welcome Kae to Jonathan Cape and Vintage.”


Photo credit: Wolfgang Tillmans

The McDermid Debut Award is announced by Harrogate Festival

The McDermid Debut Award for new crime writers has been launched by Harrogate Festival, named after ‘Queen of Crime’, Val McDermid. The new prize will be open to authors from the UK and Ireland whose debut novels have been published for the first time between 1st May 2023 and 30th April 2024, with the first winner to be announced at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in June 2024.

The organisers of the McDermid Debut Award said: “Named in recognition of world-famous crime writer Val McDermid, who co-founded the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in 2003 and whose dedication to fostering new voices in crime fiction through the New Blood panel is legendary, this new award seeks to continue her legacy, celebrating and platforming the best debut crime writers in the UK.”

Val said: “Curating the New Blood panel over 20 years exposed me to an extraordinary range of crime fiction I might otherwise have missed. I’m hoping that this new award will do the same for the army of avid readers out there looking for new talent.”

We are delighted to see Val’s achievements and dedication to amplifying the voices of new crime writers honoured through the Prize. Read more about it here.

Jason Allen-Paisant and Jacqueline Crooks have been longlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2024

We are thrilled to announce that Jason Allen-Paisant’s TS Eliot Prize winning collection Self-Portrait as Othello, and Jacqueline Crooks’ mesmerising and inventive debut novel Fire Rush have both been longlisted for the prestigious Jhalak Prize for 2024.

Judged by Anni Domingo, Stella Oni and Denise Saul, this year’s prize features a wide variety of styles and genres across fiction, non-fiction, short stories and poetry.

Prize director Sunny Singh said of this year’s longlist: “The Jhalak Prize judges have selected outstanding longlists for both our awards that showcase an extraordinary range of themes, subjects, genres and styles. These are books about displacement and belonging, about longing for what is lost and the search for what may be gained. They range across the globe and reach far back into time, and yet bring us back to the rich tapestry that is Britain today. Every book on the two lists challenges, informs, amuses, comforts and heals. But most of all, these are books that push the boundaries of contemporary literature, culture and our very imaginations. Each of these books is a literary gem, to be admired, loved and treasured forever.”

The shortlist will be revealed on 18 April, and the winners will be announced on 30 May. In the meantime you can pick up a copy of Fire Rush here, and Self-Portrait as Othello here, or in all good bookshops.

Nicola Davies and Catherine Rayner have been shortlisted for YOTO Carnegie Medals

Nicola Davies and Catherine Rayner have both been shortlisted for YOTO Carnegie Medals for their respective books Choose Love and The Bowerbird

Shortlisted for the medal in writing, Choose Love is a moving sequence of poems highlighting the experience of those forced to become refugees.  With superb illustrations by Petr Horáček, the collection provides insight into the real-life experiences of refugees forced to leave their homes.

The Bowerbird is the irresistible tale of Bert – a small bird with a very big heart and has been shortlisted for the medal in illustration. Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Catherine Rayner, the book is a wonderful rhyming tale perfect for children.

The ceremony to announce the winners will take place on 20 June 2024. See the full shortlists here.

Mick Herron is shortlisted for the British Book Awards for The Secret Hours

The Secret Hours by Mick Herron has been shortlisted in the crime and thriller category at The British Book Awards 2024! Mick is one of five authors, including Richard Osman and Robert Galbraith, to be shortlisted in the category. The Secret Hours, which was published in 2023 and became an instant Sunday Times Bestseller, was deservedly acclaimed by critics and readers alike upon publication, and has been ever since. A gripping standalone thriller, it is the perfect entry-point to Mick Herron’s writing, while also providing a delight for existing Slough House fans.

The annual British Book Awards are described as ‘a celebration of books and all who make them’. They honour some of the most beloved and best-selling books of the year, as well as those individuals behind the scenes who bring them to readers, and we are thrilled to see The Secret Hours on this year’s shortlist. The editor of The Bookseller Philip Jones said of the shortlist: ‘Readers were the real winners this year, with titles which demonstrated the remarkable virtuosity of the book business.’

The ceremony to announce the winners will take place on 13th May 2024. See the full shortlists here.

Kathryn Scanlan wins Gordon Burn Prize for Kick the Latch

We are immensely proud of Kathryn Scanlan, who has won the £10,000 Gordon Burn Prize for Kick the Latch—a poised and vivid novel about one woman’s life at the race track, based on transcribed interviews with horse trainer, Sonia. Published by Daunt Books in the UK, and New Directions in the US, Kick the Latch was described by the judges as “a rare beast, setting out with a premise that feels neatly bordered but revealing itself almost immediately to be a desperately consumable piece of literature, pushing boundaries in terms of form and structure but never becoming inaccessible”, and “a thundering achievement, liberated from hard lines of genre and form by a laser focus on not just excavation but building of voice”.

The Gordon Burn Prize recognises literature that is forward-thinking and fearless in its ambition and execution, often playing with style, pushing boundaries, crossing genres or challenging readers’ expectations. Founded in 2012 by New Writing North, Faber & Faber and the Gordon Burn Trust, it has built a reputation for identifying and celebrating brilliant books that often find their readers outside the mainstream.

Kick the Latch is available from all good bookstores, and you can also find it online here.

Santanu Bhattacharya, Stephen Buoro and Jacqueline Crooks are on the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award longlist

Stephen Buoro’s The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa, Santanu Bhattacharya’s One Small Voice and Jacqueline CrooksFire Rush have been longlisted for the 70th Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award.

Open to any debut novel written in English, the £2,500 Authors’ Club Best First Novel prize aims to support UK-based authors, publishers and agents. Commenting on this year’s longlist, the judging panel chair Lucy Popescu said: ‘There are fresh perspectives on the coming-of-age narrative and a thrilling range of themes, from corruption and religious intolerance, through neurodiversity and masculinity, loss and bereavement, wealth and privilege, obsession and desire, to ghosts and superstition.’

The shortlist will be announced on 25 March at the National Liberal Club in London, and the winner will be announced on 22 May. To see the full longlist, click here.



Mick Herron is a finalist for the 2024 ITW Thriller Awards

Mick Herron has been announced as a finalist in the Best Hardcover Novel category at the ITW (International Thriller Writers) Thriller Awards for 2024. This category honours the best hardcover thriller of the year, and Mick has been nominated for his latest novel, The Secret Hours, a gripping standalone thriller and an unmissable read for Slough House fans, which was an instant Sunday Times Bestseller upon its publication in 2023.

The winners will be announced at ThrillerFest XIX on 1st June 2024 at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, New York City. To see the other categories and finalists, click here.

Momtaza Mehri’s Bad Diaspora Poems has been shortlisted for the Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year Award

Momtaza Mehri has been shortlisted for the Charlotte Aitken Young  Writer of the Year Award. Her debut poetry collection, Bad Diaspora Poems,  confronts ideas around diaspora, migration and home through lyric, prose and text messages. Since its publication in 2023, the collection has won the Eric Gregory Award and the 2023 Forward Prize for Best First Collection.

Chair of judges Johanna Thomas-Corr said: ‘We have found four very different writers who are injecting real energy and vitality into the literary scene. What impressed me most was their attentiveness to the world around them and their commitment to telling complex and often tough truths, as well as the unique ways in which each has made space for humour in their work. They have all shown daring and gumption.’

The winner will be announced in a ceremony on 19 March. To see the full shortlist, click here.

Matrescence by Lucy Jones has been longlisted for The Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction

Matrescence by Lucy Jones has been longlisted for the first-ever Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction.

The Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction is a major new annual book prize that celebrates exceptional narrative non-fiction by women. The winner will receive £30,000 and will be chosen based on three core tenets, which mirror its sister fiction prize: excellence, originality and accessibility.

Published by Allen Lane, Matrescence draws on new research across various fields – neuroscience and evolutionary biology; psychoanalysis and existential therapy; sociology, economics and ecology – to shows how the changes in the maternal mind, brain and body are far more profound, wild and enduring than we have been led to believe. Jones reveals the dangerous consequences of our neglect of the maternal experience and interrogates the patriarchal and capitalist systems that have created the untenable situation mothers face today.

It is an urgent examination of the modern institution of motherhood, which seeks to unshackle all parents from oppressive social norms. As it deepens our understanding of matrescence, it raises vital questions about motherhood and femininity; interdependence and individual identity; as well as about our relationships with each other and the living world.

Benjamin Myers and Tan Twan Eng are on the longlist for The Walter Scott Prize

Benjamin Myers’ Cuddy and Tan Twan Eng’s The House of Doors have been longlisted for The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. Honouring the achievements of the founding father of the historical novel, the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction is one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the world. With a total value of over £30,000, and now in its fifteenth year, it is unique for rewarding writing of exceptional quality which is set in the past.

Twan Eng’s The House of Doors is an atmospheric tale of love, betrayal and morality in 1920s Penang, with Willie Somerset Maugham at its centre, exploring the vagaries of his life, his unique creativity, and the personal and political tensions at play in the sultry colony. Published by Bloomsbury, Cuddy is a bold and experimental retelling of the story of St Cuthbert, unofficial patron saint of the North of England — told in four parts, spanning the seventh century to present day.

The Walter Scott Prize shortlist will be announced in May. To see the full longlist, click here.

Momtaza Mehri and Jason Allen-Paisant win Forward Prizes for Poetry

Momtaza Mehri and Jason Allen-Paisant have both been awarded a Forward Prize for their respective collections Bad Diaspora Poems and Self-Portrait as Othello.

Bernardine Evaristo, the chair of judges, called Bad Diaspora Poems ‘an exceptional debut collection’ that ‘reinvigorates ideas around diaspora, migration and home’, and termed Jason’s book: ‘Playful, intimate and allusive… a refreshing mash-up of languages that regenerate poetry so that it feels freshly minted.’

Paula Hawkins’ new thriller The Blue Hour to be published in October 2024

The Blue Hour, a new unmissable thriller by globally best-selling writer Paula Hawkins, will be published by Transworld in the UK and by Mariner in the US.

The thriller begins with the discovery that an exhibited sculpture, created by an infamous artist whose notoriously unfaithful husband disappeared after visiting her twenty years ago, contains human remains. It is a discovery that will intimately connect three people and unveil a web of secrets and lies. The Blue Hour recalls the elegant psychological intrigue of Shirley Jackson and Patricia Highsmith and cements Hawkins’s place among the very best of our most nuanced, powerful and stylish storytellers.

International rights have also been sold by DHA in Canada (Doubleday), France (Sonatine), Spain (Planeta), Germany (dtv), Catalan (Columna), Portugal (PRH), Norway (Cappelen Damm), Finland (Otava), The Netherlands (HarperCollins Holland), and Hungary (Magnolia), with rights currently under offer in Italy, Romania, Slovakia, and Brazil.

The Blue Hour is now available for pre-order, and will be publishing internationally on 8th October 2024.


Divisible By Itself And One by Kae Tempest appears on the Dylan Thomas Prize’s longlist

Divisible by Itself and One, a powerful new collection from our foremost truth-teller Kae Tempest, has been longlisted for the 2024 Dylan Thomas Prize.

Ruminative, wise, with a newer, more contemplative and metaphysical note running through it, Divisible by Itself and One is a book engaged with the big questions and the emotional states in which we live and create.

Throughout the poems, ideas of form – of the body, gender, and in nature – resurface and resolve. Stories of transformation hold a central place in Tempest’s work, their best to date; here, the poet considers the changes that are sometimes required to be oneself.

Four David Higham authors have been named Granta Best of Young British Novelists

Our clients Jennifer Atkins, Sarah Bernstein, Sophie Mackintosh, Saba Sams and Anna Metcalf have been named Granta Best of Young British Novelists this year.

Every ten years since 1983, Granta magazine has appointed a panel of judges to select the twenty British novelists under the age of forty that promise to be the most significant of their generation. Each list shines a spotlight on the literary stars of the future, announcing a set of extraordinary new talents, with new ways of seeing the world, and revealing new directions in British culture.

On the 2023 judging panel were writers Tash Aw, Rachel Cusk, Brian Dillon and Helen Oyeyemi, chaired by Granta editor Sigrid Rausing.


The House of Doors by Tan Twan Eng is on the Booker Prize 2023 longlist

Tan Twan Eng has been longlisted for The Booker Prize for his masterful novel of public morality and private truth, The House of Doors.

Published by Canongate in the UK and Bloomsbury in the US, the translation rights have been sold in Arabic, Croatian, Dutch, Estonian, French, Italian, Spanish, and German.  Twan will follow his tour of the UK and Asia this summer with a tour of America in the fall.

Twan’s first book The Gift of Rain was longlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize and his second The Garden of Evening Mists was also shortlisted for the Man Booker and won the 2012 Man Asia Literary Prize.

Benjamin Myers’ Cuddy wins The Goldsmith’s Prize

We’re thrilled to see Benjamin Myers’ success at The Goldsmith’s Prize where he won the £10,000 prize for Cuddy (Bloomsbury).

Chair of Judges, Tom Lee, said that ‘the ambition, the risk, the virtuosity’ of Cuddy is what marked it as this year’s winner. Fellow judge and assistant culture editor at the New Statesman, Ellen Peirson-Hagger, wrote that the book ‘upends preconceptions of the ‘historical novel’’ in her piece for the magazine.

This comes only a few days after The Bookseller announced Ben’s new book, Rare Singles.

France on Trial: The Case of Marshal Pétain is on the Pol Roger Duff Cooper Prize shortlist

We’re delighted to see Julian Jackson’s France on Trial on this year’s Pol Roger Duff Cooper Prize shortlist.

Published by Allen Lane, France on Trial uses Pétain’s three-week trial as a lens through which to examine the central crisis of twentieth-century French history – the defeat of 1940, the signing of the armistice and Vichy’s policy of collaboration – what the main prosecutor Mornet called ‘four years to erase from our history’.

Jason Allen-Paisant’s Self-Portrait as Othello wins the 2023 T.S. Eliot Prize

Jason Allen-Paisant has won the T.S. Eliot prize for his moving and lyrical second collection, Self-Portrait as Othello.

Published by Carcanet Press, Self-Portrait as Othello refracts Allen-Paisant’s European travels and considers the Black male body, its presence, transgressiveness and vulnerabilities. Othello’s intertwined identities as ‘immigrant’ and ‘Black’, which often operate as mutually reinforcing vectors, speak to us in the landscape of twenty-first-century Europe.

The judges, Paul Muldoon, Sasha Dugdale and Denise Saul, described the collection as a work of ‘great imaginative capacity, freshness and technical flair’ and ‘a book to which readers will return for many years’.

An Unusual Grief is on the 2023 SA Sunday Times Literary Awards shortlist

Yewande Omotoso’s novel An Unusual Grief has been shortlisted for the 2023 SA Sunday Times Literary Awards.

Published by Jonathan Ball Publishers, An Unusual Grief is a bold and unflinching tale of one women’s unconventional approach to life and loss. The judges commented that An Unusual Grief  is ‘a brave and vivid story of a mother’s grief and attempts to uncover who her daughter was and what happened to her. Omotoso’s writing about trauma, loss and imperfection is outstanding.’

Kathryn Mannix receives an Increasing Understanding Award

Congratulations to Kathryn Mannix on receiving the Increasing Understanding award from Demystifying Death Awards. The author of With The End in Mind commented for the Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief website:

‘Once people understand the process of dying, and its stages, I hope they will feel less afraid for themselves and the people they love, better able to be companions as their person is dying, and less startled or frightened by the unusual changes in consciousness and breathing noises that happen during dying. I get lots of lovely feedback from people whose change in understanding has helped them be better prepared, or to make sense of their experiences afterwards.’

Kathryn Scanlan has been shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award

Kathryn Scanlan has been shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award for her precise and startling novel Kick the Latch.

The judges described Scanlan’s novel as ‘a genre busting book that captures the raw energy of sporting passion.’

The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa is on the Aspen Words Literary Prize and the Nero Book Awards

Stephen Buoro has been shortlisted for the inaugural Nero Book Awards in the debut fiction category for his playful and propulsive debut novel The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa, which the judges described as  ‘extraordinary, driven by a gloriously eccentric central character’, and ‘utterly compelling’.

Published by Bloomsbury, The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa has also been longlisted for the prestigious Aspen Words Literary Prize for 2023. Profound, exhilarating and highly original, this tragicomic novel is a stunning exploration of the contemporary African ‘condition’, the relentless infiltration of Western culture and, most of all, the ordinary but impossible challenges of coming of age in a turbulent world.

Sarah Bernstein’s Study for Obedience is on The 2023 Booker Prize shortlist

Sarah Bernstein’s urgent, darkly funny novel Study For Obedience has been shortlisted for the 2023 Booker Prize. Critics have been calling Bernstein’s novel ‘masterly’ (The Guardian) and ‘remarkable’ (Daily Telegraph).

The Booker Prize 2023 judges commented: ‘Study for Obedience is an absurdist, darkly funny novel about the rise of xenophobia, as seen through the eyes of a stranger in an unnamed town – or is it? Bernstein’s urgent, crystalline prose upsets all our expectations, and what transpires is a meditation on survival itself.’

Study for Obedience by Sarah Bernstein wins the Giller Prize

Sarah Bernstein has been named the winner of the 2023 Giller Prize for her powerful novel, Study for Obedience.

From the judges: ‘The modernist experiment continues to burn incandescently in Sarah Bernstein’s slim novel, Study for Obedience. Bernstein asks the indelible question: what does a culture of subjugation, erasure, and dismissal of women produce? In this book, equal parts poisoned and sympathetic, Bernstein’s unnamed protagonist goes about exacting, in shockingly twisted ways, the price of all that the world has withheld from her. The prose refracts Javier Marias sometimes, at other times Samuel Beckett. It’s an unexpected and fanged book, and its own studied withholdings create a powerful mesmeric effect.’

Gao Xingjian receives the Royal Society of Literature’s International Writers Award

Gao Xingjian has been named as one of the recipients of the Royal Society of Literature’s International Writers Awards for 2023. Since 2020, the award has recognised the contribution of writers across the globe to literature in English, and the power of literature to transcend borders to bring people together, with previous nominees including Annie Ernaux, Claudia Rankine, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Anne Carson and Javier Marias.

Laura Mucha and Michael Morpurgo are on the The Ruth Rendell 2024 shortlist

We’re delighted to see Laura Mucha and Michael Morpurgo on the The Ruth Rendell 2024 shortlist.

The Ruth Rendell Award was launched by ALCS and The National Literacy Trust and recognises an writer or author who has had the most significant influence on literacy in the UK over the past year. Previous winners include Andy McNab and Cressida Cowell, and the winner will be announced at a reception at Goldsmiths’ Centre in London on 22 February 2024.

On Laura Mucha’s work, the judges said: ‘Laura’s sensitivity is extraordinary and she is deeply committed to what she is doing. Thinking about the vulnerability of young people’s mental health at the moment, her work is so important.’

On Michael Morpurgo, judges said: ‘Michael is a fantastic ambassador for literacy. He is so passionate about libraries and he really puts the work in with trying to enact change.’


Gordon Burn Prize 2023 longlist features Kathryn Scanlan and Ben Myers

Kathryn Scanlan’s Kick the Latch and Benjamin Myers’s Cuddy have been longlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize 2023, which was announced on the 7 December.

The Gordon Burn Prize recognises literature that is forward-thinking and fearless in its ambition and execution, often playing with style, pushing boundaries, crossing genres or challenging readers’ expectations.

Val McDermid and Jane Gregory are appointed Vice-Presidents of Harrogate International Festivals

Val McDermid, known for good reason as the ‘Queen of Crime’, has been announced as a new Vice President of Harrogate International Festivals, along with former DHA literary agent Jane Gregory, who represented Val before her retirement.

Val has been involved with Harrogate International Festivals for over twenty years, and she and Jane played a crucial role in the establishment of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival and its New Blood Panel for debut crime writers. Their efforts helped the festival to become one of the biggest of its kind, and have provided a platform for emerging talent in the crime fiction genre.

Val told The Bookseller, ‘I’m proud to continue that association and delighted to accept the invitation to become a vice-president of the festivals as we go from strength to strength.’


Photo credit: Charlotte Graham


Resistance: The Underground War wins the Wolfson History Prize

Halik Kochanski won prestigious Wolfson History Prize for Resistance: The Underground War in Europe, 1939-1945, the first English-language history of resistance to study the whole of Europe.

The Prize celebrates the best history writing in the UK from the past year, and Kochanski was named the winner from a shortlist of five other works. David Cannadine, Chair of the Wolfson History Prize judges, said of the work: ‘This book does more than recount the past; it breathes life into forgotten voices and untold tales of bravery, illuminating the spirit of ordinary people who challenged oppression.’ See the full write-up here.

Claudia Roden was awarded her Honorary Degree from the University of London

Claudia Roden was awarded her honorary degree from the University of London, which she received in Senate House.

The PhD was awarded officially for literature – at the ceremony they congratulated Claudia for her ‘role in introducing the food of the Middle East to the UK, influencing British culinary culture and sparking an interest in the academic study of food.’

Maame by Jessica George is on the shortlist for three awards

Since being published in February 2023, Maame by Jessica George has been shortlisted three awards – the TikTok Book of the Year, the Audible Audiobook of the Year, and the GoodReads Debut and Fiction Book of the Year.

Published by Hodder & Stoughton, Maame is a deeply moving, achingly funny debut about finally finding where you belong.

Robert Macfarlane has been nominated for the Premio Internazionale Nonino 2024

Robert Macfarlane was nominated for the Premio Internazionale Nonino 2024, a prestigious award in Italy whose winners include six Nobel Laureates.

Previous winners include V.S. Naipaul (Nonino Prize 1993, Nobel Prize 2001), Tomas Tranströmer (Nonino Prize 2004, Nobel Prize 2011), Mo Yan (Nonino Prize 2005, Nobel Prize 2012), Peter Higgs (Nonino Prize 2013, Nobel Prize 2013), Giorgio Parisi (Nonino Prize 2005 – Nobel Prize 2021).


Photo credit: Bryan Appleyard

Sonnets for Albert by Anthony Joseph wins the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry 2022

Anthony Joseph won the T.S. Eliot prize for his moving collection, Sonnets for Albert.

Published by Bloomsbury, Sonnets for Albert returns to the autobiographical material explored in Anthony Joseph’s earlier collection Bird Head Son. In this follow-up, he weighs the impact of being the son of an absent, or mostly absent, father. Though these poems threaten to break under the weight of their emotions, they are always masterfully poised as the stylish man they depict.


Nikita Gill’s These Are the Words is on the Jhalak Prize 2023 longlist

Congratulations to Nikita Gill on being longlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2023 in the Children’s and YA category for her empowering, feminist YA poetry collection These Are the Words, out now with Macmillan Children’s Books.

First awarded in March 2017, the Jhalak Prize and its new sister award Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize founded in 2020, seek to celebrate books by British/British resident BAME writers.