I am hoping that you have all been excited as I have to find out which authors have been shortlisted for this year’s Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of The Year Award 2019!
It is an amazing and intriguing shortlist, featuring authors who will entertain and educate you, challenge your perceptions and preconceptions and draw you completely into their worlds.
Are you ready?
Want to go and make a cup of coffee first?
Is the suspense killing you?
It is my privilege and honour to reveal the four shortlisted authors:
I am incredibly excited to read and review these books, and to discuss them with you and my fellow Shadow Judges.
So, the works are:
Testament by Kim Sherwood – Published By riverrun
The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus – Published By Penned In The Margins
Stubborn Archivist by Yara Rodrigues-Fowler – Published By Fleet/Little, Brown
Salt Slow by Julia Armfield – Published By Picador
Here is a little more about each book.
Testament by Kim Sherwood from riverrun tells the story of Eva and her relationship with her Grandfather.
She is making a film about his life, and when he passes away, Eva discovers a letter from The Jewish Museum in Berlin asking if they can use his testament of Holocaust experiences. Eva realises her Grandfather Silk endured many things during the Holocaust, and in uncovering his unspoken history, she is forced to confront her own. By exploring the past, Eva will change the future of her family forever.
I haven’t read this one, and am so looking forward to losing myself in this novel. It ticks all my historical fiction boxes, and am always interested in learning about the lives of those whose unheard voices form such an important part of the world around us.
I will of course, be blogging about Testament and all the books on the Shortlist, and hope you join in the discussion too.
The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus from Penned in the Margins, is a book of poetry which is also his debut work.
It is a collection of Raymond’s life experiences about language, history and identity, and also is a profoundly personal work which details the reality of being a deaf person and all the judgement that brings. The Perseverance is about Raymond’s relationship with his family, the importance of communication and the things that are not said as much as those that are.
I have to admit, that I was slightly nervous about the idea of reading and reviewing a collection of poetry, although I love reading it. Suffice to say, that I have started dipping in as I couldn’t wait, and I know it is going to be an awe inspiring book that will create lots of discussion.
I can already see the immense power that Raymond’s words have on the page and am ready to educate myself about a world I currently know nothing of.
Stubborn Archivist by Yara Rodrigues Fowler from Fleet/Little, Brown is the only book on the Shortlist that I have prior knowlege of.
I was lucky enough to see Yara in conversation with Zeba Talkhani and Daniel Hahn at the Henley Literary Festival earlier this year. The passion and emotion with which she spoke about her life experiences and the search for identity when you don’t apparently fit in to the culture you live in was intensely moving.
The Stubborn Archivist is a novel that uses other people’s perceptions and conversations to form a picture of the protagonist. At the same time she is attempting to find her own identity in a world trying to find a way to be seen, and she is also dealing with the knowledge her body has been traumatised. It is told in fragments and challenges the preconceptions we have about a traditional novel.
I know it is going to be a unique and thought provoking insight into the meaning of identity, culture, self and belonging.
Salt Slow by Julia Armfield from Picador, is a new title to me.
It is a collection of short stories, which uses the body in all its forms as its inspiration. I am being completely honest when I tell you that short stories are not something that I would usually pick up, however, as part of being on the Shadow Panel, this is as much a chance for me to put aside my own preconceptions, and to challenge myself to read more widely.
I have to say that the whole premise of Julia’s book just make me wants to start reading it now! The notion that the everyday world is mixed with the mystical and gothic one is just the sort of genre I love – the sense of unease and tension is an interesting and unsettling one.
I will be sharing my thoughts with you on my blog and Twitter and Instagram, along with the rest of the Shadow Panel Judges.
Well, there we are! What do you think? Have you read any? Are you like me when I see a Shortlist and want to get hold of copies of them right away and follow it (I do it all the time!)
I am really excited to start reading all these titles – they may be outside my comfort zone, but that makes it even more interesting as a reader and Shadow Judge as I will be learning about myself and challenging my ideas about fiction and form. I have to say when I found out which books were on the Shortlist, it made me want to stop and read them all at once!
Over the coming weeks, I will be posting my reviews on my blog, and keeping you all updated as to how I am getting on. I would love to hear what you think, and don’t forget to see what Anne, David, Linda and Phoebe are saying too.
If you want to get involved, please do use #youngwriterawardshadow to chat to us, if there is anything you want to know, or even so you can read along with us all too!
You can also read more about the Award and the Shortlist in more detail here
I will be posting my very first review soon – now my only problem is deciding which one to start first..!
Lots of love,