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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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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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Kamila Shamsie wins the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction

Kamila Shamsie. Photo credit: Salma Raza

Former Desmond Elliott Prize judge Kamila Shamsie has been awarded the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction for her seventh novel, Home Fire, a contemporary reimagining of Sophocles’ Antigone. Sarah Sands, chair of judges for the Women’s Prize, said that Home Fire was “the book which we felt spoke for our times. Home Fire is about […]




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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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Q&A with Andrew Meehan

We spoke to Andrew Meehan about his debut novel, One Star Awake, and what it’s like to be longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize. A young woman comes to in the Paris restaurant in which she apparently works – she has survived some kind of trauma, but her memories haven’t. Something tells her there has […]




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