Man Booker Prize winner Anna Burns and Guy Stagg are among the eight authors shortlisted for the £30,000 Rathbones Folio Prize with indie publishers dominating this year’s award.
Indies Bloomsbury, Faber, Penned in the Margins and Granta made the list, with Unbound securing its first nomination for the crowdfunded novel Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile by Alice Jolly, while literary imprints Picador, Chatto and Windus and Harvill Secker are also recognised.
In non-fiction New Zealander Ashley Young’s book of essays Can You Tolerate This? (Bloomsbury), Edward Stanford Travel Writing winner The Crossway by Guy Stagg (Picador) and The Perseverance (Penned in the Margins) by Jamaican British poet Raymond Antrobus made the shortlist.
Contenders in fiction include Milkman (Faber) by Burns, Carys Davies’ novella West (Granta) Tommy Orange’s novel about the Native American experience There There (Harvill Secker) and Ordinary People (Chatto and Windus) by Diana Evans.
Announcing the shortlist, the 2019 chair of judges Kate Clanchy said: “Judges of literary prizes are supposed to engage in dark arguments, but the words my fellow judges kept saying to each other were ‘joy’ and ‘luck’: a joy to read the fantastically wide ranging list, across geography and literary genres, nominated by the Folio Academy; luckyto be reading at a time when the genres are recreating themselves so rapidly. We chose passionate, singular books, books which we felt took risks and pushed words and often the writer to new limits. Choosing a shortlist may have been a joy but picking a winner will surely be hard work.”
The eight shortlisted books are now in the running for the overall prize, increased this year to £30,000, which will be awarded at a ceremony at the British Library in London on 20th May. They were chosen from a longlist of 20 works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, which the Folio Academy deemed to be the best published in the UK in 2018.