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02 Oct 2022

Irish novelist makes shortlist for £10,000 UK writing prize

Irish novelist makes shortlist for £10,000 UK writing prize

Irish novelist makes shortlist for £10,000 UK writing prize

An Irish writer is one of five people to make the shortlist of a £10,000 UK writing prize. 

Novelist Megan Nolan - originally from Co Waterford and now based in London - is nominated for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award.

Her darkly funny debut, Acts of Desperation, is a story about a young woman in Dublin as she navigates an obsessive love with a Danish writer and her equally toxic relationship with food and alcohol. 

Overall, women dominated the shortlist for the awards. 

The nominees for the prize, which celebrates the best emerging talent in the UK and Ireland, this year include one male and four female authors.

A member of the judging panel described the group as “risk-takers” who through their work are “taking chances with style, with perspective, with form”.

The winner will secure £10,000 as well as a bespoke 10-week residency with the University of Warwick, with those on the shortlist receiving £1,000. 

Cal Flyn, an author and journalist from the Scottish Highlands, also features on the shortlist for an “eerie yet ultimately optimistic” non-fiction book about ecological diversity, Islands Of Abandonment.

Rachel Long, from London, is nominated for her debut poetry collection, My Darling From The Lions, and British-Ghanian author Caleb Azumah Nelson for Open Water, his south-east London-set debut.

The judging panel features writer and academic Sarah Moss, Scottish novelist Andrew O’Hagan, author and columnist Tahmima Anam, critic Claire Lowdon and writer Gonzalo C Garcia.

It is chaired by the literary editor of the Sunday Times, Andrew Holgate.

Lowdon said: “These writers stand out because they are risk-takers.

“Risking vulnerability, risking unlikability. Taking chances with style, with perspective, with form.

“Open any one of these books and you will find yourself, thrillingly, in uncharted territory.”

Moss said: “From a strong longlist, we chose the five books that showed the most inventive and promising writing.

“I’m confident that these are not only new books and new stories but new voices that will become part of our shared cultural life in the coming years.

“The rising generation inherits a shameful mess, but the breadth of genres and themes here attests to the artistic and intellectual energy of new writers.”

The award, which is this year sponsored by the Charlotte Aitken Trust, is celebrating its 30th anniversary year.

The winner will be announced in a ceremony at the London Library on February 24.

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