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2017 Young Writer Of The Year Award Blogger Event

A photograph of Sara Taylor, Julianne Pachino, Claire North, Minoo Dinshaw, and Robert Collins

“To be paid to write novels is the single greatest privilege of my life”. — Claire North

Last week I and others got to meet four of the five shortlisted authors for the Young Writer of the Year Award. The writers read from their work and spoke about the past and future.

From left to right of this unfortunately bad photo: Sara Taylor (The Lauras), Julianne Pachico (The Lucky Ones), Claire North (The End Of The Day), and Minoo Dinshaw (Outlandish Knight). Chairing was Robert Collins, formally of The Sunday Times.

At the now-usual Groucho Club, we talked over wine and nibbles, various bloggers, including this year’s shadow judges, and publicists in attendance. The shadow judges are yet to meet up to decide on their winner but they’ve been in conversation about what they’re reading. I’m very much looking forward to hearing their decision, which will be announced next Wednesday.

For The Lauras, Sara Taylor wrote both Alex and Ma’s stories at the same time. Alex was a gender in themselves, they were just ‘Alex’ to her. She started writing the book in 2012, before gender was a topic of discussion in the US and was writing it at the time she realised she’d be remaining in the UK. She wanted her book to speak back to Maureen Duffy’s Love Child.

Julianne found having only one setting too hard. She wrote her short stories and then saw the connections between them. The US publishers market it as a novel.

Claire North (Kat)’s parents were concerned about her having a ‘real job’, writing wasn’t seen as a career but she said they are proud. The author was first published at 14 and, now at 30, has written over a dozen books under three different names.

Minoo Dinshaw said that writing is the only thing he’s good at. He would like to try his hand at fiction in the future. He said that writing is a way of doing everything and being anyone, a thought that was agreed with by all.

I brought back with me the books I’ve not yet read and will be reviewing them in due course, hopefully before the award ceremony date (7th December) – it should be do-able in every case except, perhaps, Dinshaw’s book which is over 600 pages. Having only read one of the shortlist I can’t say I’ve a favourite yet, and judging by what we heard that may be difficult!


Andrew Blackman

November 23, 2017, 5:04 pm

Interesting post, Charlie! I like the idea of having an event before the announcement of the winner. Makes it more about the books and authors, I’d guess, and less about the excitement of discovering who’s won. And spreads the attention more evenly over all the authors instead of being all about the winner. Thanks for the update!

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