Small publisher Stinging Fly Press will compete against the major houses for the £10,000 Guardian FIrst Book Award.
The 11-strong shortlist features 10 titles picked the Guardian Books team, chaired by Guardian Review editor Lisa Allardice, with a final choice selected by the public vote - which this year has gone to Sarah Jackson’s debut poetry collection Pelt (Bloodaxe Books).
The fiction titles on the longlist are: Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding (Fourth Estate); Mary Costello [pictured]’s book of Irish short stories The China Factory (Stinging Fly Press); Kevin Powers’ The Yellow Birds (Sceptre); Patrick Flanery’s Absolution (Atlantic Books); and Charlotte Rogan’s The Lifeboat (Virago). and Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson (Chatto).
Non-fiction titles on the list are New York journalist Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Portobello Books), her account of her time living in the Annawadi slum; Susan Cain's Quiet (Viking); Faramerz Dabhoiwala's The Origins of Sex, (Allen Lane); and Lindsey Hilsum's Sandstorm (Faber), about the Libyan revolution.
In partnership with Waterstones, reading groups across the country will now help the judging panel pick a shortlist, which will be announced in late October.
Allardice said: "In fiction we've got novels like The Art of Fielding, a popular and critical hit earlier this year, alongside lesser known titles such as The China Factory. One criticism of new writing is often that it doesn't engage with contemporary events or recent history, but something like The Yellow Birds, a very raw, visceral account of the Iraq war written by a young soldier, shows this can be done.”
The winning title will be unveiled on 29th November.
Photo credit: Tony Carragher