Gail Honeyman has won the 2018 Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award for her debut Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (HarperCollins).
The guest adjudicator, A L Kennedy, presented the £2,500 award at a reception at the National Liberal Club in London on Friday (22nd June).
She praised Honeyman for her understanding of character and her "pitch perfect" sense of timing.
"The use of humour is deft and slyly leads the reader deeper into the narrative and Oliphant’s wonderfully bizarre and well-rendered world", Kennedy added. "In a time when the broken amongst us are being either demonised or forgotten, this is a confident, well-crafted and humane narrative that celebrates a shattered life and the human being alive inside it.”
Kennedy selected Honeyman as the winner of the award from a "powerful and wide-ranging" shortlist that also included The Clocks in the House All Tell Different Times by Xan Brooks (Salt), Darke by Rick Gekoski (Canongate), Dark Chapter by Winnie M. Li (Legend Press), White Highlands by John McGhie (Little Brown) and Man With A Seagull On His Head by Harriet Paige (Bluemoose Books).
The prize is for the debut novel of a British, Irish or UK-based author, first published in the UK. 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.
Past winners have included Brian Moore, Alan Sillitoe, Paul Bailey, Gilbert Adair, Nadeem Aslam, Diran Adebayo and Jackie Kay. Last year’s prize was awarded to Rowan Hisayo Buchanan.