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Shortlist 2017

Congratulations to five of the UK and Ireland’s best young writers who have been named on the shortlist for The Sunday Times / Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award, in association with the University of Warwick:

  • Outlandish Knight – The Byzantine Life of Steven Runciman by Minoo Dinshaw (Allen Lane)
  • The End of the Day by Claire North (Orbit)
  • The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachico (Faber & Faber)
  • Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber)
  • The Lauras by Sara Taylor (Windmill)

Shortlist 2017

The incomparable strength of this year’s list of submissions led the jury to make a rare exception, and shortlist five, rather than the usual four authors for the prize – four women and one man. This year the prize is being judged by the award-winning novelist and political commentator Elif Shafak and the acclaimed cultural historian and biographer Lucy Hughes-Hallett alongside The Sunday Times literary editor Andrew Holgate.

The Sunday Times / Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award, in association with the University of Warwick, rewards the best work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by a British or Irish author aged between 18 and 35.

Featuring three novels, a collection of short stories and a biography, the shortlist showcases the extraordinary breadth of young British and Irish writing: Minoo Dinshaw’s debut Outlandish Knight is the biography of a great and strange British historian; with the The End of the Day, Claire North has written a novel of life, death and everything in between; The Lucky Ones, Julianne Pachico’s debut collection of stories, mostly set in Columbia, brings together the fates of guerrilla soldiers, rich kids, rabbits and drug dealers; Conversations with Friends by Irish writer Sally Rooney has written an intimate story of high-risk relationships, youth and love; and The Lauras by Sara Taylor, whose first novel was shortlisted for the award in 2015, explores identity and relationships, set against a rolling backdrop of the North American landscape. The full press release can be read here

For the second year running, the award will be chronicled by an official shadow judging panel made up of some of the country’s leading book bloggers: Dane Cobain (socialbookshelves.com), Rebecca Foster (bookishbeck.wordpress.com), Elle Franzen (ellethinks.wordpress.com/), Annabel Gaskell (shinynewbooks.co.uk / gaskella.wordpress.com), and Clare Rowland (littleblogofbooks.com). The panel will announce their winner on 29 November.

Shortlisted authors will appear at a public event at Waterstones Trafalgar Square, The Grand Building, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5EJ, on Tuesday, 28 November.

The winner of The Sunday Times / Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award 2017, in association with the University of Warwick, will be announced at a reception at the London Library on Thursday, 7 December.


outlandish_knight.jpgOutlandish Knight – The Byzantine Life of Steven Runciman
Minoo Dinshaw (Allen Lane)

The biography of one of the greatest British historians - but also of a uniquely strange and various man. In his enormously long life, Steven Runciman managed not just to be a great historian of the Crusades and Byzantium, but Grand Orator of the Orthodox Church, a member of the Order of Whirling Dervishes, Greek Astronomer Royal and Laird of Eigg. His friendships, curiosities and intrigues entangled him in a huge array of different artistic movements, civil wars, Cold War betrayals and, above all, the rediscovery of the history of the Eastern Mediterranean. He was as happy living in a remote part of the Inner Hebrides as in the heart of Istanbul. Outlandish Knight is a dazzling debut by a writer who has prodigious gifts, but who also has had the ability to spot one of the great biographical subjects.
'As rich, funny and teemingly peopled as Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time ... Dinshaw writes with wit and elegance, and the most elegiac passages of Outlandish Knight evoke a lost society London and way of life.'
Ben Judah, Financial Times
Minoo Dinshaw lives in London and Outlandish Knight is his first book.

endoftheday.jpgThe End of the Day
Claire North (Orbit)

Sooner or later, death visits everyone. Before that, they meet Charlie. Charlie meets everyone - but only once. Sometimes he is sent as a courtesy, sometimes as a warning. Either way, this is going to be the most important meeting of your life. The End of the Day is the stunning new story from Richard and Judy Book Club author Claire North, the voice behind the word-of-mouth bestseller The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August.
'Every one of the chapters is shaped with philosophical panache.' Guardian

Claire North is a pseudonym for Catherine Webb, a Carnegie Medal–nominated author whose debut novel was written when she was just fourteen years old. Her first book published as Claire North was The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, which became a word-of-mouth bestseller. Her next novel Touch was described by the Independent as ‘little short of a masterpiece’ and established Claire as one of the most exciting and imaginative young voices in modern fiction. Claire is also one of three writers contributing to the upcoming Black Mirror book, which ties into Charlie Brooker’s award-winning TV series. She also works as a theatre lighting designer and lives in London.

theluckyones.jpgThe Lucky Ones
Julianne Pachico (Faber & Faber)

Set mostly in lush, heady Colombia but also in a jungle-like New York City, these short stories yoke together the fates of guerrilla soldiers, rich kids, rabbits, hostages, bourgeois expats, and drug dealers. Interconnected yet fractured, the result is a narrative jigsaw puzzle with some of the pieces missing. Her characters' voices are completely haunting and Pachico's playfulness with language and mastery of consciousness create a mesmerising collective atmosphere in this collection. At once terse and tender, with a manic, crazed energy, these stories will scalpel their way into your memory.
‘Each of these stories enlivens and unsettles in its own way. Their cumulative power derives from the way they expose the fragility of any kind of security, and the interconnectedness of lives across gulfs of time and society. The Lucky Ones is a riveting collection.’ James Scudamore, author of Wreaking and Heliopolis

Julianne Pachico was born in 1985 in Cambridge, England. She grew up in Cali, Colombia, where her parents worked in international development as agricultural social scientists. She is currently completing her PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at UEA on a fully funded fellowship. She had a short story on the long list for the Sunday Times Prize, and is also the only writer to have two stories in the 2015 anthology of the Best British Short Stories. Her short stories have been published by The New Yorker, Lighthouse, Litro, Shooter Magazine and Newwriting.net, among others. She holds dual citizenship of the U.S. and the U.K.

conversations.jpgConversations with Friends
Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber)

Frances, Bobbi, Nick and Melissa ask each other endless questions. As their relationships unfold, in person and online, they discuss sex and friendship, art and literature, politics and gender, and, of course, one another. Twenty-one-year-old Frances is at the heart of it all, bringing us this tale of a complex ménage-à-quatre and her affair with Nick, an older married man. You can read Conversations with Friends as a romantic comedy, or you can read it as a feminist text. You can read it as a book about infidelity, about the pleasures and difficulties of intimacy, or about how our minds think about our bodies. However you choose to read it, it is an unforgettable novel about the possibility of love.
‘Sally Rooney writes with a rare, thrilling confidence, in a lucid and exacting style uncluttered with the sort of steroidal imagery and strobe flashes of figurative language that so many dutifully literary novelists employ. This isn't to say that the novel lacks beauty. Its richness blooms quietly.’ New Yorker
Sally Rooney was born in 1991 in the West of Ireland, and lives in Dublin. She graduated from an MA at Trinity College and was ranked the number one competitive debater at the European Universities Debating Championships in 2013. Her work has appeared in Granta, The White Review, The Dublin Review, The Stinging Fly, Kevin Barry’s Stonecutter and The Winter Pages anthology.

lauras.jpgThe Lauras
Sara Taylor (Windmill)

Alex and Ma have embarked on a life on the road. This enigmatic pilgrimage takes them back to various stages of Alex’s mother’s life, each new state prompting stories and secrets. Together they trace back through a life of struggle and adventure to put to rest unfinished business, to heal old wounds and to search out lost friends. This is an extraordinary story of a life; a stunning exploration of identity and an authentic study of the relationship between a mother and her child. The Lauras is the new novel from the exceptionally gifted author of The Shore, which was long listed for the Baileys Women’s Fiction Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year.

‘Taylor’s writing is poetic and emotionally sensitive, describing a road trip that is the key to an entire life.’ The Times

Sara Taylor was born and raised in rural Virginia. She has a BFA from Randolph College and an MA in Prose Fiction from the University of East Anglia. She is currently chipping away at a double-focus PhD in censorship and fiction at UEA. She spends her time between Norwich and Reading. The Shore, her debut novel, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. In 2015, Sara was shortlisted for the Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer of the Year Award.

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