Morris and 81-year-old debut novelist shortlisted for SoA awards

Morris and 81-year-old debut novelist shortlisted for SoA awards

Bestselling author Heather Morris and 81-year-old debut novelist Norma MacMaster have been shortlisted for the Society of Authors' Awards. 

The SoA revealed the shortlists for the Betty Trask, McKitterick, Somerset Maugham, ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust awards and the inaugural Paul Torday Memorial Prize today (Wednesday 15th May). Broadcaster and journalist, Sally Magnusson and debut author Anne Youngson have been shortlisted for two prizes.

The Litten Path by James Clarke (Salt), The Chameleon by independent bookseller Samuel Fisher (Salt), Women’s Prize shortlisted The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar (Harvill Secker), Paul by Daisy Lafarge (unpublished), Sweet Fruit, Sour Land by Rebecca Ley (Sandstone Press), The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh (Hamish Hamilton) and The Watermelon Boys by Ruqaya Izzidien (Hoopoe/AUC Press) have been shortlisted for the Betty Trask Prize celebrating a first novel by a writer under 35. 

The McKitterick Prize for a first novel by a writer over 40 will see What We’re Teaching Our Sons by Owen Booth (4th Estate), West by Carys Davies (Granta Books) and Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott (Hutchinson) battle for the award alongside Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday (Granta Books), The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson (Two Roads), Who’s Who When Everyone is Someone Else by C D Rose (Melville House) and Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson (Doubleday).

Five titles are up for short story prize, the ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award, with Once We Were Syrians by Dima Alzayat, Gerardo Dreams of Chillies by Niall Bourke, Tiny and Pointed by 2015 Desmond Elliott Prize winner Claire Fuller, The Kids by Bruce Meyer and Blessing by Bunmi Ogunsiji on the shortlist. 

The inaugural Paul Torday Memorial Prize will be awarded to a first novel by a writer over 60. Sealskin by Su Bristow (Orenda Books), Walking Wounded by Costa Short Story Award shortlisted Sheila Llewellyn (Sceptre), Silence Under a Stone by Norma MacMaster (Doubleday Ireland), The Sealwoman’s Gift by Magnusson (Two Roads) made the shortlist alongside The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Morris (Zaffre) and Meet Me at the Museum by Youngson (Doubleday).

The Perseverence by Raymond Antrobus (Penned in the Margins), The Stopping Places by Damian Le Bas (Chatto & Windus) and Shrines of Upper Austria by Phoebe Power (Carcanet) will compete for the Somerset Maugham Awards with The Golden Thread by Kassia St. Clair (John Murray), The Crossway by Guy Stagg (Picador) and Mrs Gaskell and Me by Nell Stevens (Picador) rounding off the shortlist. 

The judges for each award, including Kate Mosse, Gary Younge, Mark Lawson, Anita Sethi, Vaseem Khan, Susan Hill, Stuart Evers, Irenosen Okojie and Jen Campbell were united in their praise for "inventive, courageous, challenging and evocative writing that explores both the everyday and the extraordinary" with stories exploring the personal and political via themes of displacement, love, friendship, community and loss.

The five prizes will be awarded at the SoA awards on Monday 17th June with more than £100,000 awarded to authors.