You may have dim memories of this particular literary prize. It’s been in abeyance for several years but has just been relaunched with an announcement of the shortlist for this year’s award. Contenders must be writers of literary fiction, non-fiction or poetry, aged thirty-five and under. Past performance suggests that previous judges have had a good eye for spotting talent – winners have included Zadie Smith, Naomi Alderman, Robert MacFarlane and Sarah Waters. Quite a starry list, these days. I’ve only read one of the novels on this year’s shortlist – Sara Taylor’s The Shore – but if that’s anything to go by the standard is just as high as ever.
Why the boo-hoo, you might ask, given that I seem pretty enthusiastic about it? Well you could call it sour grapes. I was delighted to be invited to a bloggers’ event celebrating the relaunch, and even more so when I found that not only was it in the afternoon – I live quite some way from London – but the venue was the Groucho club. I’ve always fancied seeing what all the fuss is about, and who knows given that events come to a close by 5 pm there might even be cake, not to mention an interesting bunch of writers and bloggers to get to know. Sadly, the event is to be held next Saturday and thanks to a prior arrangement I can’t go. Anyway, enough of my boo-hooing. I hope any bloggers reading this who are able to go will have a lovely time. I’ll look forward to your posts.