Author Archives: Desmond

MY FAVOURITE DEBUT: GRACE MCCLEEN

It’s that time again to discover another dazzling debut, thanks to our Desmond Elliott Prize alumni. Today we hear from author, musician, artist and winner of the 2012 prize, Grace McCleen. “One of the most remarkable debuts and probably the one I love best is Wuthering Heights. Emily Brontë’s only novel, it was published in […]




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MY FAVOURITE DEBUT: KATY GUEST

It’s that time again to discover another dazzling debut, thanks to our Desmond Elliott Prize alumni. Today we hear from journalist and editor Katy Guest. “When I judged the Desmond Elliott Prize in 2016, the question was sprung on me: what is your favourite debut ever? At the time we were all still talking about […]




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MY FAVOURITE DEBUT: LOUISE DOUGHTY

Next up in our series of Desmond Elliott Prize alumni’s favourite debuts, we have award-winning author and 2015’s chair of judges, Louise Doughty. “As we are in Emily Bronte’s bicentenary year, I can’t resist choosing Wuthering Heights. It wasn’t just her debut, of course, it was her only published novel. Historians seem to agree that […]




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Judging the Desmond Elliott Prize: Sam Leith

Sam Leith – 2017’s chair of judges – is the literary editor of the Spectator, as well as having a writing columns for Prospect, the Evening Standard and the Financial Times. He is also the author of Write to the Point: How to be Clear, Correct and Persuasive on the Page. In this blogpost, he […]




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Preti Taneja: Journey to Publication

Preti Taneja’s debut novel We That Are Young is shortlisted for this year’s Desmond Elliott Prize. We spoke to her about her journey to publication and her advice for aspiring authors. What did you learn from the process of writing your debut? That for me, writing is a question of feeling doubt more than anything […]




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Judging the Desmond Elliott Prize: Sam Llewellyn

Sam Llewellyn – 2012’s chair of judges – has worked as a novelist, columnist and editor ever since Desmond Elliott himself commissioned Sam’s first novel in 1976. His children’s books include the Little Darlings series, and the Lyonesse series, a reimagining of the Arthurian canon. He is also Editor and Publisher of the Marine Quarterly – a journal […]




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Paula Cocozza: Journey to Publication

Paula Cocozza’s debut novel How To Be Human is shortlisted for this year’s Desmond Elliott Prize. We spoke to her about her journey to publication and her advice for aspiring authors. What did you learn from the process of writing your debut? To persist. To dwell in the emotional space and landscape of the story. […]




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DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE SHORTLIST 2018

DESMOND ELLIOTT SHORTLIST EXPLORES IMPACT OF SOCIAL ISOLATION AND IMPORTANCE OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS “Each of these three novels is distinguished by a striking and vivid narrative voice, a gift for storytelling, and a wise and humane gaze; and it is especially thrilling to bring to readers’ attention deserving debuts that might have thus far fallen […]




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Q&A with Imogen Hermes Gowar

We spoke to Imogen Hermes Gowar about her debut novel, The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock, and what it’s like to be longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize. One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has […]




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