The shortlist for The Desmond Elliott Prize 2012 was announced on Thursday 24 May 2012. The Prize celebrates the very best of debut fiction by the rising stars of the literary world.
The 2012 shortlist was selected from a longlist of ten, announced in April. The three shortlisted authors are: poet and academic Patrick McGuinness, whose novel The Last Hundred Days was inspired by his yearsin Bucharest in the lead up to the Romanian revolution; award-winning radio playwright Rachel Joyce, whose book The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was originally drafted as a radio play for her dying father,and Grace McCleen with The Land Of Decoration, a story based on the author’s own upbringing in a Christian fundamentalist sect in Wales.The Desmond Elliott Prize 2012 shortlist:
- The Land Of Decoration by Grace McCleen (Chatto & Windus)
- The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness (Seren)
- The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Doubleday)
Sam Llewellyn, 2012 Chair of Judges and one of Desmond Elliott’s own protégés, commented:
‘It has been extraordinarily hard to choose a shortlist of three from such a powerful and diverse longlist. Desmond Elliott once told me that his ideal novel was a cross between a treasure hunt and a race.The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is both these things, and a lot more besides. The Last Hundred Days, written with wit and irony, is a really fine and original addition to the literature of disintegrating empires, and The Land of Decoration is unlike anything you’ve ever read. It’s a rollercoaster of a book that makes the reader laugh and cry at entirely unpredictable intervals.’
Sam Llewellyn is joined on the judging panel by Tom Gatti, Editor ofThe Times Review section, and Caroline Mileham, Head of Books at Play.com.