Claire Adam has scooped the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award for her “outstanding” novel Golden Child (Faber).
Novelist Andrew Miller announced the £2,500 prize winner via video at the close of the Authors’ Club virtual Litfest on Sunday (17th May).
He described her debut as an “outstanding novel that held me from first page to last through the sheer quality of its writing. A fully achieved and more or less faultless piece of work.”
The book, which also won the Desmond Elliott Prize last year, is set in the Trinidad of Adam’s own childhood, following Clyde Deyalsingh’s relationship with his twin sons Peter and Paul. One is driven and academically gifted, the other is a dreamer and indecipherable.
Adam said: “Thank you so much and congratulations to all the authors who were on the shortlist and congratulations as well to all first time novelists. We've all done a great thing in getting our first novel published. We all know it's not easy sometimes to get through it but we made it.”
She triumphed from a shortlist featuring The Burning Land by George Alagiah (Canongate), You Will Be Safe Here by Damian Barr (Bloomsbury), The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen (Borough Press), Only the Dead by TJ Gorton (Quartet) and The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary (Quercus).
The prize is for the debut novel of a British, Irish or UK-based author, first published in the UK, and there is no age limit. The winning novel is selected by a guest adjudicator from a shortlist drawn up by a panel of Authors’ Club members, chaired by Lucy Popescu.
Popescu said: “This shortlist resonated far more than usual: at a time like this, is one drawn to an upbeat novel that offers a joyful outcome, an escape into the past or fiction with a darker, political edge? I’m really proud of the 2020 shortlist and Claire Adam is a worthy winner—it’s a remarkable debut.”