Independents strong on Betty Trask shortlist

Independents strong on Betty Trask shortlist

Debut novels from four independent presses have made it onto the Betty Trask Prize shortlist, including two from Bloomsbury.

The four finalists for the £10,000 prize are The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley, Weathering by Lucy Wood, both published by Bloomsbury, Glass by Alex Christofi, published by Serpent’s Tail and Butterfly Fish by Irenosen Okojie, from Jacaranda Books Art Music.

The Society of Authors, which coordinates the prize, said: “Subjects and settings (on the shortlist) are excitingly diverse, ranging from a  window-cleaner to a  watchmaker, a rain-soaked valley to the ancient kingdom of Benin.”

This year’s prize, which honours the best debut by a writer under 35-years-old, is being judged by Simon Brett, Joanne Harris and Michèle Roberts.

The Watchmaker is described as “impressively competent, steam-punk meets Zuleika Dobson”, by Roberts, Weathering is “deeply poetic; dreamy and thought-provoking” according to Harris, while Brett says Butterfly Fish is “a stunningly well-written book, which juggles different timescales with great skill.” Glass, meanwhile, is a “rollicking and witty London novel,” said Roberts.

The £10,000 winner will be announced at the Authors’ Awards ceremony on 21st June and the three runners-up will each receive a Betty Trask Award worth £5,000.