Debut Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume has won the annual Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize 2015 for fiction.
The prize was set up in memory of Geoffrey Faber, the founder and first chairman of Faber, and is awarded to poetry and prose in alternate years. To win, the work has to be first published during the two years preceding the year in which the award is given. The year 2015 marks the 51st anniversary of the prize.
The 2015 judges were Justine Jordan, deputy literary editor at the Guardian, novelist Kirsty Gunn and David Headley, managing director of D H H Literary Agency and owner of Goldsboro Bookshop in London's Cecil Court.
The judges said: "We considered both established novelists and first-timers, but in the end the originality of one debut was irresistible. Spill Simmer Falter Wither does a great deal with what looks like unpromising material – an ageing, lonely man who has lived his whole life at one remove from society, and the damaged, dangerous dog he takes to his heart. As the two come to trust and rely on each other, the book blossoms into many things – a road trip, an almanac of the seasons, a family psychodrama and a mystery story.
"Sara Baume brings to fiction the sensibility of a visual artist and a nature writer’s skills of observation to create a novel that is tender and uncompromising, understated and profound. It looks anew at the neglected byways of human and animal nature, as well as the Irish countryside, to discover that ‘even the tattered verges are depositories of celebration and devastation in unequal measure’."
Baume is published by Tramp Press in Ireland and William Heinemann in the UK.
Spill Simmer Falter Wither, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, the Warwick Prize for Writing, and the Desmond Elliott Prize.