Books published by independent publishers dominate this year’s Guardian First Book Award longlist, with Granta editor Max Porter’s novel among those longlisted.
Porter’s Grief is the Thing with Feathers (Faber), about a father and his two small sons after their wife and mother dies, is one of 10 books in the running for the £10,000 prize, which is awarded to the year’s best debut in any genre. In an interview with The Bookseller's Anna James in July, Porter said the book was inspired by stories about his late father and a 'longstanding obsession' with Ted Hughes.
Also on the list is Chigozie Obioma for The Fishermen (Pushkin), which has already been longlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize. The book is about four young brothers in a small Nigerian town who encounter a madman.
Also from an independent publisher is Man v Nature by Diane Cook (Oneworld), a collection of short stories.
Katharine Norbury’s The Fish Ladder (Bloomsbury) follows the author as she takes a journey across England, Scotland and Wales after a miscarriage, examining the wildlife she encounters along the way.
Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev (Faber), which was this week shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize, is about the author as he arrives in Russia, and finds himself sucked into Putin’s post-modern dictatorship.
Mrs Engels by Gavin McCrea is published by Scribe. It follows two Manchester mill girls in the 19th century.
The Wallcreeper by Nell Zink (Fourth Estate) is a portrait of a marriage.
Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume was originally published by independent Tramp Press, before being taken on by Heinemann. It is the story of a man and his dog across the changing seasons of rural Ireland. It is one of three books from Penguin Random House on the longlist. The others are Andrew McMillan’s poetry collection Physical (Jonathan Cape) and The Shore by Sara Taylor (Heinemann), set on island’s off Virginia’s coast over 200 years.
The winner will be announced in late November.