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Notes on Writing my Third Novel by Claire Fuller

Today marks the publication of Bitter Orange (Fig Tree), the third novel by our 2015 winner Claire Fuller. The novel has already received rave reviews from the Guardian and The Sunday Times and will no doubt go on to garner many more. To celebrate its release, Claire shared some insight into the writing process with […]




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MY FAVOURITE DEBUT: TOM GATTI

It’s that time again to discover another dazzling debut, thanks to our Desmond Elliott Prize alumni. Today we hear from Head of Books and Features for the New Statesman and 2012 judge of the Prize, Tom Gatti. ” “Crassly explicit”; “gloatingly sadistic”; “repulsive”; “a work of unparalleled depravity”. I remember vividly flicking through the quotes […]




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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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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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