Ali Smith longlisted for Gordon Burn Prize 2017

Ali Smith longlisted for Gordon Burn Prize 2017

Ali Smith has been longlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize 2017 for the first book in her Seasonal four-part series, Autumn (Hamish Hamilton). 

The prize, established in 2012, is designed "to celebrate the legacy of one of literature’s great innovators" whether in fiction or non-fiction, in honour of Burn who himself often blurred the line between the two. 

Smith, whose previous inventive novels include the Baileys Prize-winning How To Be Both, a book of two halves that can be read in any order, is longlisted for Autumn, which timely book weaves the “contemporaneous” political narrative of Brexit with the “timeless” changing of the seasons. It will be followed by three further books to complete the seasonal quartet.

She is joined on the longlist by Gwendoline Riley for her sixth novel First Love (Granta), which has recently been shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize and tells the story of an abusive marriage; Richard Ford for his first work of nonfiction, Between Them (Bloomsbury), a memoir about parental love; and the first novel of short story master George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo (Bloomsbury).

From Penguin Random House's stables are three authors longlisted, with Rachel Lichtenstein for Estuary: Out from London to the Sea (Hamish Hamilton) and Denise Mina for The Long Drop (Harvill Secker) also on the longlist. Macmillan has one author in the running, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich for The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir, and as does 4th Estate with You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman.

Independent publishers are particularly well representented, however, between them clocking up nine authors. Granta, Bloombury and Faber all have two authors longlisted. Also published by Granta is Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe by Kapka Kassabova, and Faber & Faber have The Secret Life: Three True Stories by Andrew O’Hagan and This is Memorial Device by David Keenan, which it publishes, on the longlist. Meanwhile Adelle Stripe is longlisted for Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile (Wrecking Ball Press), Jarrett Kobek for Hate the Internet: A Novel (Serpent’s Tail) and Lara Pawson for This Is the Place to Be (CB Editions).

The Gordon Burn Prize, run in partnership by the Gordon Burn Trust, New Writing North, Faber & Faber and Durham Book Festival, is open to works in English by writers of any nationality or descent who, at the time of entering, are residents of the UK or US.

Carol Gorner, on behalf of the Gordon Burn Trust, said: “The longlist for the 2017 Gordon Burn prize was difficult to reach, as there was such a wide range of books of a very high standard to choose from. In the end, we arrived at a longer list than usual; it will be very exciting to follow the process to achieve the shortlist. It is particularly encouraging that there is such a strong showing of women writers this year.”

Claire Malcolm, chief executive of New Writing North, said: “The longlist for the Gordon Burn Prize represents some of the most interesting contemporary writing coming out of the UK and the US. The prize always attracts a wide-ranging selection of titles – from true crime to boundary-breaking fiction – and it is exciting to see the list come together as one. If you love to read ambitious writing that makes you consider the world with fresh eyes, these are the books you will want to read in 2017.”

The shortlist will be announced in July and the prize itself will be awarded at the Durham Book Festival on Thursday 12th October.