Adam Mars-Jones has won the 2019 Fitzcarraldo Editions Novel Prize for Box Hill, his “strangely tragic love story” set in the gay biker community during the late 1970s.
Mars-Jones will receive a £3,000 prize in the form of an advance against publication with Fitzcarraldo Editions. It will be released in March 2020.
The author’s first Mars-Jones’ first collection of stories, Lantern Lecture (Faber), won a Somerset Maugham Award in 1982. Debut novel Pilcrow and second book Cedilla were published by Faber & Faber in 2008 and 2011 respectively.
This year’s prize saw 321 submissions, which were eventually whittled down to a five-book shortlist. The nominees included Line by Niall Bourke, a work of speculative fiction set in a world where the main character has spent his entire life in an endless queue.
Also on the list were Zealandia by David Hering, a novel about a corporation that has harnessed the ability to revive animals that have become extinct, and Breath by Amanda Oosthuizen, following an ageing trumpet virtuoso and her stalker, who tails her as she tours across Europe. Quinn by Em Strang, a novel about a man serving a prison sentence for an unexplained act of violence against his girlfriend, completed the shortlist.
The annual award was originally made possible through an Arts Council grant and last year’s inaugural prize was won by Jeremy Cooper for his novel Ash Before Oak.