Desmond Elliott Prize for New Fiction – Longlist

Posted: April 14, 2010 in Hot Book News

The Desmond Elliott Prize 2010 Longlist Announced 

The writers longlisted for the prize include high-profile advertising guru David Abbott, acclaimed poet Jacob Polley and critic and academic Matthew Reynolds. Several of the books in contention reflect the colourful travels of the writers who have lived in countries across the globe, from Nigeria to Hong Kong, France to China. All the writers now live in the UK, but many have drawn on their experiences of living abroad.
The Upright Piano Player by David Abbott (MacLehose Press, Quercus)

Before the Earthquake by Maria Allen (Tindal Street Press)

The Hungry Ghosts by Anne Berry (Blue Door)

Rupture by Simon Lelic (Picador)

The Shadow of a Smile by Kachi A. Ozumba (Alma Books)

Talk of the Town by Jacob Polley (Picador)

The Breaking of Eggs by Jim Powell (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

Designs for a Happy Home by Matthew Reynolds (Bloomsbury)

Beauty by Raphael Selbourne (Tindal Street Press)

The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw (Atlantic Books)

The longlisted books span the globe taking the reader from the prisons of Nigeria to colonial unrest in Hong Kong. Maria Allen, who spent much of her life living in Italy set her novel in southern Italy, and Anne Berry who moved to Hong Kong at the age of six, has the Japanese occupied Hong Kong of 1942 as the backdrop for her story.    
Crime and punishment feature strongly in the longlisted books, particularly in Matthew Reynolds’ The Shadow of a Smile; Simon Lelic’s Rupture; Raphael Selbourne’s Beauty; Jacob Polley’s Talk of the Town and David Abbott’s The Upright Piano Player.
Of the ten contenders there are two women and eight men, and four of this year’s ten books come from independent publishing houses.
Acclaimed author and journalist Elizabeth Buchan chairs this year’s panel of judges and is joined by James Daunt, founder of Daunt Books, London’s independent bookselling chain, and William Skidelsky, Literary Editor of
A shortlist of three books will be announced on Wednesday 26 May. When narrowing the list to a shortlist of three books, the judges will be looking for a novel of depth and breadth with a compelling narrative. The work should be vividly written and confidently realised and should contain original and arresting characters. Entries have been considered from all fiction genres.
The winner of the 2010 Desmond Elliott Prize will be announced on Wednesday 23 June at Fortnum & Mason, Desmond’s ‘local grocer’, in London.

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