Paul Mendez (pictured), Deepa Anappara and Ingrid Persaud are among the debut authors longlisted for the £2,500 Authors' Club Best First Novel Award.
Mendez's intersectional coming-of-age debut Rainbow Milk (Dialogue Books), Anappara's Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line (Chatto & Windus) and Persaud's Love After Love (Faber & Faber) have all been selected for this year's longlist.
Aso chosen are Shahnaz Ahsan's Hashim & Family (John Murray), Molly Aitken's The Island Child (Canongate), Ellen Alpsten Tsarina (Bloomsbury Publishing), Rosanna Amaka's The Book of Echoes (Doubleday), Sairish Hussain's The Family Tree (HQ), Gabriel Krauze's Who They Was (4th Estate), Frances Macken's You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here (Oneworld), Beth Morrey's Saving Missy (Harper Fiction) and Stephanie Scott's What’s Left of Me is Yours (Weidenfeld & Nicolson).
Lucy Popescu, chair of the judging panel, commented: “We are thrilled to announce this diverse longlist of remarkable first-time novelists who cover an array of subjects from love and murder in Japan to London’s gang culture, from Tsarist Russia and slavery in Nigeria to the plight of children in the slums of India, as well as celebrating the importance of friendship and community closer to home. Once again women dominate the longlist. Here are 12 debut novelists tackling important and topical themes."
The winning novel will be selected by guest adjudicator Michèle Roberts from a shortlist drawn up by a panel of Authors’ Club members, chaired by Popescu. Inaugurated in 1954, the award is now in its 67th year, and considers any debut novel written in English and published in the UK between 1st January and 31st December 2020. The prize of £2,500 exists to support UK-based authors, publishers and agents, so the novel must originate in the UK and not have been published anywhere else in the world before its UK publication. Last year’s prize was awarded to Claire Adam.
This year's winner will be announced on Wednesday 19th May.