Debuts dominate Glass Bell longlist

Debuts dominate Glass Bell longlist

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine author Gail Honeyman is one of the seven debut novelists to be longlisted for the 2018 Glass Bell Award.

Established novelists John Boyne, Anthony Horowitz and Jon McGregor are also vying for the £2,000 award with the longlist dominated by debut thrillers, and the contenders mostly split across HarperCollins and Penguin Random House (PRH) imprints. The two publishers have five titles each on the 13-strong longlist followed by Picador with two nods, while Bloomsbury is the only independent publisher nominated.

The prize was introduced last year to celebrate the best storytelling across all genres of contemporary fiction and is judged by Goldsboro Books founder and m.d. David Headley and his team at the bookshop.

The bestselling Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (HarperFiction) is joined by fellow debuts from HarperCollins, Gabriel Tallent, who is nominated for literary thriller My Absolute Darling, published by the most prevelant imprint, 4th Estate – which secured three nods in total. Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor, which recently won the Fiction category at the British Book Awards, also features, along with 4th Estate stablemate Laline Paull of The Ice, a mystery set against the backdrop of climate change. Psychological thriller Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough completes HarperCollins’ nominated titles.

Across PRH, Century has scooped two books with “unique and modern mystery” The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz and The Innocent Wife by debut novelist Amy Lloyd, about a woman who falls in love with a convicted murderer. Michael Joseph has two titles featured: debut thriller You Don't Know Me by criminal barrister Imran Mahmood, which is told as a monologue in which a young man accused of murder addresses the jury directly, as well as debut novelist Ali Land's psychological thriller Good Me Bad Me. Transworld title The Heart’s Invisible Furies by Boyne completes the PRH-tipped titles, offering a “sweeping odyssey” which spans 70 years of modern Irish history.

Picador is represented with two debuts: the “disturbingly prophetic” American War by Omar El Akkad and The Nix, an “intricate and multi-stranded mystery” by Nathan Hill.

Historical thriller, The Silent Companions, by novelist Laura Purcell finishes the longlist and was published by Bloomsbury imprint Raven Books last year as a departure for the novelist.

The award rewards “compelling storytelling with brilliant characterisation and a distinct voice that is confidently written and assuredly realised” according to a prize spokesperson. The six finalists will be announced on 30th August and the winner be revealed at a party at Goldsboro Books in central London on 27th September. They will receive £2,000 and a handmade, engraved glass bell.

Headley said: “This hugely impressive longlist celebrates the depth and breadth of contemporary fiction today. Featuring both established and debut authors, it reflects an extraordinary range of themes, styles and concerns, from religious intolerance, climate change and the flaws in our justice system to the challenges of rural life – and ghosts.

“Whittling down these wonderful, pacey and varied novels to just six will be a tremendously daunting process."

The winner of the 2017 award was Chris Cleave, for Everyone Brave is Forgiven (Sceptre), offering a “moving and unflinching novel about the profound effects that the Second World War had on ordinary citizens back at home in Britain”.