Works of fiction and books published by independent presses dominate the longlist for the Warwick Prize for Writing.
Big names on the list include Karl Ove Knausgaard and Marilynne Robinson.
This is the first year the prize, awarded biennially for the best writing in English in all forms and disciplines, has been open for direct submissions from publishers. Previously books were only selected from a list nominated by faculty, students and staff from the University of Warwick and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
The theme for this year’s prize is ‘instinct’. The longlist of 13 consists of seven works of fiction, five non-fiction books, and a collection of poetry.
In fiction Karen Joy Fowler’s Man Booker Prize-shortlisted We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent’s Tail) makes the longlist.
Established writer Robinson makes the list for Lila (Virago), the latest in her loosely connected Gilead books, alongside Sara Baume’s debut Spill Simmer Falter Wither, a love story told over four seasons and published by indie Tramp Press.
Also in fiction are The Dig by Cynan Jones (Granta), about a farmer whose land is being stalked by a badger-baiter; Redeployment by Phil Klay (Canongate), a collection of short stories about the wars in Iraq; Ismael and His Sisters by Louise Stern (Granta), about three deaf siblings; and Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (Fourth Estate), about a place called Area X which is monitored by a secret agency.
The poetry collection on the list is Her Birth by Rebecca Goss, published by independent Carcanet.
Among the non-fiction books on the longlist are Knausgaard’s A Man In Love by (Harvill Secker), the second in his My Struggle series. The book has been translated into English by Don Bartlett.
Lyndall Gordon is longlisted for Divided Lives (Virago), a memoir about the author’s relationship with her mother.
Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, described as a clarion call to fix America’s broken system of justice, is published by independent publisher Scribe.
The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science by Armand Marie Leroi (Bloomsbury) sees the author recover Aristotle’s science.
Finally in non-fiction is Skyfaring by Mark Vanhoenacker (Chatto & Windus), in which the author shares his love of flying.
The winner will get £25,000 and the chance to take up a short placement at the University of Warwick.
The judging panel for the 2015 prize is chaired by Warwick alumna and author A L Kennedy, who is joined by author and academic Robert Macfarlane, actress and director Fiona Shaw, Warwick alumnus and Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler, and physician and writer Gavin Francis.
Kennedy said: “I'm delighted to see we have such a strong and varied list and am looking forward to our judging discussions for the shortlist and prize. My best wishes and thanks to all those currently included and to my fellow judges.”
A shortlist will be announced in October, with the winner announced in November.