Jessie Burton’s [pictured] novel The Miniaturist (Picador) and Emma Healey’s Elizabeth is Missing (Viking) are among 10 novels longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2015.
The award celebrates the best debut fiction of the year.
Joining Healey, who has been longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, and Burton’s books is The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth, a post-apocalyptic novel published via crowd-funding platform Unbound. It is the first time a crowd-funded book has made the longlist.
Independent publishers Galley Beggar Press and Serpent’s Tail have one book each on the list – Randall by Jonathan Gibbs, set in a world where Damien Hirst dies and his place is taken by a genius provocateur, and Glass by Alex Christofi, the story of a man called to on to clean the Shard, respectively.
Viking has a second book on the longlist, with Chop Chop by Simon Wroe, about a young graduate who takes a job in a gastropub where he finds himself surrounded by a group of criminals and at the mercy of a sadist.
Other Penguin Random House divisions represented are Doubleday, with The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah, about a dying man recalling his life through tales and memories about his body; Fig Tree with Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller, a tale about a young girl taken to live in a forest by her survivalist father; and Hutchinson, with A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray, about a Mormon family coping with the death of a child.
The final book on the longlist is The Bees by Laline Paull (Fourth Estate), told from the point of view of a bee. It has also been longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Authro and chair of judges Louise Doughty said: “One of the many exciting aspects of this year's longlist is the breadth of the books, in terms of subject matter and style, but also the level of attention the books have received so far. Two of our titles are already acclaimed bestsellers, others have received critical attention – and some are names that are either published very recently or haven't yet had their moment in the spotlight. It's incredibly thrilling to have such a disparate list to choose from and the field is wide open.”
Dallas Manderson, chairman of the prize trustees, said: “It has been a remarkable 12 months for debut fiction both in terms of sales and literary achievement. We are very proud to present a longlist highlighting ten such varied, ambitious and beautifully written books, and I’m sure that Desmond Elliott, who in his lifetime nurtured first time novelists, would be pleased to see the health of debut fiction today.”
A shortlist will be announced on 15th May, and the winner will be revealed at a ceremony at Fortnum & Mason on 1st July, where they will be presented with a cheque for £10,000.
The 2014 Desmond Elliott Prize was won by Eimear McBride for A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (Faber/Galley Beggar Press).