British Writing is not all Grey

fictionuncoveredlogoLast month, in response to the brouhaha about E L James’ sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey, Sophie Rochester, Director of the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize, came up with a neat riposte: the Twitter hashtag #BritishwritingisnotallGrey. I’d missed it but Naomi at The Writes of Women wrote a post celebrating it with an excellent list of writers she wanted to share with other readers. It seemed such a good idea that I’ve jumped on the bandwagon albeit a little tardily. What follows is, of course, an entirely subjective list. I’ve limited it to just twenty-five British writers – many of whom you’ll already know – and have kept it to those novelists whose books I’ve read. A click on a name will take you to any that I’ve reviewed.

Kate Atkinson

Jon McGregor

Helen Dunmore

Polly Samson

Lucy Wood

Emily Woof

Louisa Young

Rupert Thomson

Jill Dawson

Katharine Grant

Nadeem Aslam

Andrew Miller

James Meek

Helen Oyeyemi

Lesley Glaister

Carol Birch

Patrick Gale

William Boyd

Jane Harris

Georgina Harding

Liz Jensen

Tessa Hadley

Linda Grant

Jonathan Coe

There are many other British writers I could have included here – these are just the first that came to mind. I know you must have your own favourites so please, do feel free to add them.

18 thoughts on “British Writing is not all Grey”

    1. Thank you, Helen, and how could I have missed Janice Galloway? And Maggie O’Farrell who is from Northern Ireland not Ireland as I’d assumed.

    1. You’re welcome, and thanks for the nudge – made me remember how many very fine British writers there are.

  1. Wonderful, wonferful list. So glad to see the love of my fictional life, Kate Atkinson, there! And I do hope people realise – better sooner than later! – that not all writing is Grey, and there are incredible writers out there.

  2. Love this idea. I’ll add to the list Hilary Mantel and a short story writer called Carys Davies whose work I just discovered through the Fiction Uncovered prize

    1. Susan Osborne

      Such a stylish riposte from Fiction Uncovered, I think. Thanks for your suggestions – I must look up Carys Davies.

  3. Tredynas Days

    Julietta Harvey was born in Greece but has lived in England most of her life and writes in English. Her two Greek-set family dramas have just been reissued by Polar Books. Anna Kavan remains another favourite, though I find her quality uneven. At her best she’s sublime.

  4. Pingback: British Writing is Not All Grey | Annabel's House of Books

  5. Love this list! I’d second Janice Galloway, and add Ali Smith, Gabriel Josipovici (who I’m pretty sure classifies himself as British), Laurie Graham and Helen Oyeymi.

    1. Susan Osborne

      Thank you, Claire, and having just finished Sarah Moss’s new novel I don’t know why I didn’t include her in the first place. Edward Hogan is a new name for me but I’ll investigate.

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