The Sunday Times / Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer Of The Year Award, in association with The University of Warwick 2018 Shortlist

The shortlist for the Sunday Times / Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer Of The Year Award, in association with The University of Warwick was announced yesterday and I’m relieved to tell you that I’m looking forward to reading all four books. I hope my fellow shadow judges are equally pleased.

The titles are:

Kings of the Yukon by Adam Weymouth

Weymoth’s book sounds like a proper piece of travel writing, charting the author’s voyage by canoe down the Yukon River, a distance of 2,000 miles from Canada to the Bering Sea.

Elmet by Fiona Mozley

Already longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and shortlisted for the Man Booker, Elmet is described by the publishers as ‘a lyrical commentary on contemporary society and one family’s precarious place in it, as well as an exploration of how deep the bond between father and child can go’.

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

Described by the publishers as ‘a spell-binding story of curiosity and obsession’, Gowar’s novel sees a Deptford merchant take possession of a wizened little figure, said to be a mermaid, in 1785. Across town, a courtesan sits pondering what to do now her patron has died. These two meet at a society party and embark on a dangerous new course together.

The Reading Cure by Laura Freeman

Freeman’s memoir is essentially about the power of books to cure what ails you. Diagnosed with anorexia aged fourteen, Freeman slowly found her way back to good mental health through a passion for reading.

What a great list! We shadow judges will be posting our reviews over the next few weeks. My first should go up on Friday. We’ll be revealing our winner on November 28th while the real thing will be announced at a prize-giving ceremony on December 6th.

If you’d like to know more about the award you can find out here. My fellow panelists will be posting their reviews at Bookish Chat, These Little Words, The Literary Edit and Half Man, Half Book. If you want to keep tabs on what we’re up via Twitter you can use #YoungWriterAwardShadow or follow @youngwriteryear.

What do you think of the shortlist? Have you read any of the books on it, and if so what’s your verdict?

21 thoughts on “The Sunday Times / Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer Of The Year Award, in association with The University of Warwick 2018 Shortlist”

  1. What a great thing to be involved in! The only one I’ve read is The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock which I thought was really good (I think when I reviewed it I tipped it for The Walter Scott Prize long list). I’ve had Elmet in my TBR pile for a while so this may be the perfect motivation I need to read it. The other two sound interesting as well. Happy reading!

  2. It’s such an interesting shortlist! A better mix of fiction and nonfiction than we had last year. I read and reviewed both Elmet and The Reading Cure when they first came out, and loved them. I’m especially pleased to see Elmet up for another prize. The Gowar I tried earlier in the year but burned out on. Perhaps I’ll try it again sometime. And then I’m very interested in reading Kings of the Yukon.

  3. I’ve read three of these (not The Reading Cure, though) and really delighted with the inclusion of all of them. Kings of the Yukon, in particular, deserves more attention and adulation – it reminded me a good deal of John McPhee’s Coming Into the Country.

  4. Yep, the shortlist looks very enticing. I like that it’s a mixture of fiction and non-fiction but how on earth you compare them against each other I do not know; a bit like comparing oranges with lemons. Am sure you’ll have a fun time reading and discussing them.

  5. Hmmm, they all actually sound quite good. Ironically, the only one I haven’t heard of is the one which is likely closest to home for me – the journey in the Yukon. The one that I would be most naturally drawn to, however, would be The Reading Cure. I feel like reading has saved me so many times over! I hope you enjoy your shadow reading!

  6. It’s a great shortlist. I’ve only read one of the books so far and enjoyed The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock very much. I had Elmet and The Reading Cure on my TBR so this listing will bump them up to the top of that and Kings of the Yukon isn’t one I’d heard of but sounds my kind of book. I’m looking forward to hearing readings and meeting the authors at the bloggers event in a couple of weeks time. See you there if you’re going along?

    1. Oh, that’s great, Kath. I’ll look forward to seeing you there. I’ve just finished the Gowar and am about to start the Freeman. I hadn’t come across Kings of the Yukon, either, but I enjoy travel writing so was pleased to see it listed.

      1. Yes, same here. I’m happy to see travel writing included in the list. May try & listen to the Freeman before the bloggers’ event, I have it on audiobook. See you soon!

  7. What a great list – all books I want to read! I’ve heard a couple of good reports on Kings of the Yukon, and The Reading Cure sounds wonderful (although, I haven’t heard much about it yet). Elmet I’ve been wanting to read since Rebecca reviewed it last year.
    I think you’ll have fun with these! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on them!

    1. Thanks, Naomi. Kings of the Yukon was the one that wasn’t on my horizon but I do love a proper piece of travel writing. The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock review is going up tomorrow.

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