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McCleen wins Desmond Elliott Prize
29.06.12 | Katie Allen
Grace McCleen has won the Desmond Elliott Prize 2012 for her novel The Land of Decoration (Chatto), described by the judges as "unlike anything you have ever read".
The £10,000 prize was awarded last night (28th June) in central London, with McCleen beating authors including the Man Booker-longlisted The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness (Seren).
Sam Llewellyn, chair of judges, added: "‘The Land of Decoration is a novel that can move the reader from sadness to laughter with alarming suddenness. Grace McCleen's voice sparkles with imagery and ideas, and she uses it to tell a story that is simultaneously multi-layered and absolutely compelling."
The novel follows 10-year-old Judith McPherson who lives with her father in a Christian sect and comes to believe the last days have come.
McCleen, who like her heroine was brought up in a fundamentalist Christian sect in Wales, was also selected as one of the Waterstones 11 list of this year's most promising novelists.
2012 marks the fifth year of the Desmond Elliott Prize, which celebrates a first novel published in the UK and Ireland, and was set up in memory of the publisher and literary agent to "enrich the careers of new writers".