Books that take a fresh, undaunted approach to writing – that is the criteria for the Gordon Burn Prize.
The 2015 shortlist features five books: Midland by Honor Gavin (Penned in the Margins), Noontide Toll by Romesh Gunesekera (Granta Books), Original Rockers by Richard King (Faber & Faber), Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev (Faber & Faber), and In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile by Dan Davies (Quercus).
The judges of the 2015 prize are actress Maxine Peake, authors Doug Johnstone and Roddy Doyle, journalist Suzanne Moore and artist Gavin Turk.
Here’s what they said about each of the shortlisted titles.
In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile by Dan Davies
“In Plain Sight is a shocking book, and it is also shockingly good. Cleverly structured, so well researched and so well written, it tells its story quite brilliantly.”
Midland by Honor Gavin
“To me, reading this book was dream-like as I sequenced between nostalgia and explicitly remembered detail. The narrative scenarios drew me into a believable world that was also a kind of science fiction. I loved the way that Honor played with language, peppering the pages with a wonderful mix of colloquiums and made up words that brought me closer to the heart of the world I was suspended in.”
Noontide Toll by Romesh Gunesekera
“Noontide Toll is a subtle and graceful collection of road stories set in a modern Sri Lanka still coping with the aftermath of war and the tsunami. Dealing with big themes of redemption and morality, it does so with a wonderfully intimate feel and a huge human heart."
Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev
“Nothing is True and Everything is Possible takes you on a dystopian journey into Putin’s Russia. Funny, intense and alluring. A real ride of a book. I was plunged into a world of unknowns, which quickly became frighteningly familiar. Fascinating, exciting, grotesque.”
Original Rockers by Richard King
"I was mesmerised by Richard King's memoir Original Rockers. It glistens. Tight, spacey, mood-altering just like much of the music he describes.”