Melissa Harrison has been revealed as the UK winner of the European Union Prize for Literature 2019 with All Among the Barley (Bloomsbury Circus), a novel exploring the dangers of nationalism and xenophobia.
Set in rural England between the world wars, All Among the Barley raises questions about the dangers of nationalism, and how easily a love of place can be corrupted into something dark and exclusionary.
Harrison said: "In these politically unstable times I'm very proud to represent Britain in the European Union Prize for Literature with a novel that explores the dangerous allure of nativism, nostalgia and xenophobia."
All Among the Barley was named the UK winner from a shortlist of three novels featuring Michael Hughes’ Country (John Murray Publishers) and Benjamin Wood’s A Station on the Path to Somewhere Better (Simon & Schuster).
Now in its tenth year, the EU Prize for Literature recognises the best emerging fiction writers across Europe and involves 36 European countries. Each year national juries in a third of the participating countries nominate their own winning authors.
UK jury chair O’Reilly said: “All Among the Barley by Melissa Harrison emerged as the winner from an impressively strong shortlist. We are thrilled to be putting Melissa forward as the best emerging author in the UK for the overall prize. Speaking on behalf of the UK jury we got immense joy from reading all the books eligible and were delighted to be part of the EUPL championing British authors to a broader European audience.”
O'Reilly was joined on the judging panel by The Bookseller editor Philip Jones, fiction and politics editor at the Times Literary Supplement Toby Lichtig, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature director Sandeep Mahal and New Writing North founder and chief executive Claire Malcom.
14 authors from Austria, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine and the UK were selected as winners of the EU Prize for Literature 2019, with each winner being awarded €5,000.
The EU Prize for Literature 2019 award ceremony will take place on 2nd October in Brussels. With Brexit scheduled for 31st October, the UK’s inclusion in the EU Prize for Literature after its departure from the EU is to be confirmed.