Ingrid Persaud has won the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award for her “beautifully crafted” Love After Love, becoming the second Faber writer in a row to scoop the prize.
Guest adjudicator and novelist Michèle Roberts presented the £2,500 award at a reception at the National Liberal Club in London on 30th June.
Roberts said: “This bittersweet story of domestic abuse, loss, separation, heartbreak and redemption is leavened with deadpan humour. The reader bears witness, as the characters do, to how when conventional family ties are destroyed by violence, new, more flexible ones can be woven with compassion, tolerance, and hard-won love.”
Persaud is a former Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner and Love After Love, her tale of the Ramdin-Chetan family, also picked up the 2020 Costa First Novel Award.
Now in its 67th year, the prize is the longest-running UK prize for debut fiction. The winning novel is selected by a guest adjudicator from a shortlist drawn up by a panel of Authors’ Club members, chaired by Lucy Popescu.
Popescu said: “This is a vivid and atmospheric exploration of prejudice in Trinidad. Lyrical and beautifully crafted, [it's] a poignant debut about love and friendship, and a worthy winner.”
Persaud saw off a shortlist featuring Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten (Bloomsbury), The Book of Echoes by Rosanna Amaka (Doubleday), Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara (Chatto), Who They Was by Gabriel Krauze (Fourth Estate) and What’s Left of Me is Yours by Stephanie Scott (W&N).
Last year’s prize was awarded to Claire Adam for Golden Child, making this the second year running a book set in Trinidad has won, and the second consecutive win for a novel published by Faber.
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