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The 2019 Young Writer Of The Year Shortlist

A photograph of the shortlist

To me, now, it wouldn’t feel like November without this. The shortlist was announced yesterday following a record number of submissions – over 100 books were sent in this year. Awarded to a writer under the age of 35, the prize was won last year by Adam Weymouth for Kings Of The Yukon, a non-fiction narrative. He was joined on the shortlist by Imogen Hermes Gowar, Fiona Mozley, and Laura Freeman. The award was won in 2017 by Sally Rooney, 2016 by Max Porter, and 2015 by Sara Howe.

This year’s authors are Raymond Antrobus for the poetry collection The Perseverance, which won the Rathbones Folio Prize earlier this year; Julia Armfield for short story collection Salt Slow (one of her stories won The White Review Short Story Prize last year); Yara Rodrigues Fowler for the novel Stubborn Archivist, a Desmond Elliott Prize longlister; and Kim Sherwood for the novel Testament which has won the Bath Novel Award. This year’s winner will be announced on 5th December.

Due to the number of submissions this year, there are five judges – alongside The Sunday Times’ Andrew Holgate are Kate Clanchy, Victoria Hislop, Gonzalo C Garcia, and Nick Rennison.

This year’s shadow panel of bloggers are Anne Cater, David Harris, Linda Hill, Clare Reynolds, and Phoebe Williams. Each year’s shadow panel have so far awarded a different author than the one who won officially so it’ll be interesting to see if this year’s group do the same. Perhaps I’m biased – okay, I am – but I do look forward most to the bloggers’ choices.

I’m particularly happy to see Antrobus on the shortlist; whilst I’m yet to read his collection in full I’ve read examples from it and read a fair amount about the poet’s work and background, which I mentioned in the post linked above about his Rathbones Folio win.

Have you read any of the books? What’s your opinion on the shortlist?


Jackie Bailey

November 14, 2019, 7:38 pm

Great to see you’re still book blogging after all this time! I’ve been reading so much non fiction (mainly related to food) that all this fiction is passing me by. It feels weird to not even recognise books on prize lists any more. I hope they’re all great books. Enjoy!

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