Desmond Elliott Prize 2015: the shadowing begins


After the translations, the debuts: like last year, I am taking part in shadowing the Desmond Elliott Prize. Here is this year’s longlist:

  • Carys Bray, A Song for Issy Bradley (Hutchinson)
  • Jessie Burton, The Miniaturist (Picador)
  • Alex Christofi, Glass (Serpent’s Tail)
  • Claire Fuller, Our Endless Numbered Days (Fig Tree)
  • Jonathan Gibbs, Randall, or the Painted Grape (Galley Beggar Press)
  • James Hannah, An A-Z of You and Me (Doubleday)
  • Emma Healey, Elizabeth Is Missing (Viking)
  • Paul Kingsnorth, The Wake (Unbound)
  • Laline Paull, The Bees (Fourth Estate)
  • Simon Wroe, Chop Chop (Viking)

First impressions? Elizabeth Is Missing was, of course, my favourite book read in 2014 (immediately ahead of last year’s Desmond Elliott winner, as it happens), so that’s my front-runner going into the shadowing. I’m also particularly pleased to see The Wake getting a nod. The biggest omission for me is Lucy Wood’s Weathering, a superb novel which I thought would be a dead cert for this longlist. Whatever else happens with this year’s Prize, I will be disappointed that Weathering is not in the mix.

Still, on we go. The links in the list above will take you to my reviews of the longlisted titles; I’ll be adding as many as I can in the weeks ahead. Finally, let me introduce you to the other members of this year’s shadow panel: El Ashfield, Dan Lipscombe, Zoe Venditozzi and Sarah Watkins.


  1. Prizes like this are really great for young writers… even if they don’t win, the exposure is fantastic publicity.

  2. Will look forward to following you and the others on this prize. I’ve read both Emma Healey and Laline Paull and loved them both! I’ve also just picked up the Claire Fuller and Carys Bray books so will be especially interested to see what you all make of those. I’d not heard of ‘Weathering’ before so will definitely look out for that.

  3. I’ve tried about half of these and Elizabeth is Missing is my favourite by a long way. I’ll be interested to see if any of the others beat it in your opinion. Enjoy!

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