Guy Gunaratne has won The Authors' Club's 2019 Best First Novel Award for In Our Mad and Furious City (Tinder Press).
Guest adjudicator, Louise Doughty, presented the £2,500 award at a reception at the National Liberal Club in London on Wednesday 22nd May. She said: “Guy Gunaratne’s In Our Mad and Furious City is an extraordinary act of ventriloquism: five very different narrative voices tell of their lives on the Stones Estate during an inner-city summer of tension and violence, and the lives of these characters burst from the page in a work of stunning originality and pace that heralds a terrific literary career to come.”
Gunaratne triumphed over competition from The Cactus by Sarah Haywood (Two Roads), Silence Under a Stone by Norma MacMaster (Doubleday), The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson (Two Roads), As the Women Lay Dreaming by Donald Murray (Saraband) and Testament by Kim Sherwood (Riverrun) who all made the shortlist.
The award is the latest in a series of prizes for Gunaratne with In Our Mad and Furious City also scooping the Dylan Thomas Prize and Jhalak Prize. He is also on the longlist for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction.
Last year Gail Honeyman won for her debut Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (HarperCollins). Previous winners have included Brian Moore, Alan Sillitoe, Paul Bailey, Gilbert Adair, Nadeem Aslam, Diran Adebayo, Jackie Kay and Susan Fletcher.