The UK’s Young Writer Award Names Its 2020 Shortlist

In News by Porter Anderson

The quintet of books named to the Young Writer of the Year award’s shortlist this year includes memoir, novels, and poetry collections.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Five Titles Instead of Four This Year
The Sunday Times / University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year has named five authors to its 2020 shortlist, another of so many such announcements made within days of each other in the United Kingdom.

This is the awards program sponsored by the Sunday Times and the University of Warwick for British and Irish writers who are 35 and younger. The winner of this one gets a 10-week residency in the University of Warwick’s writing program and a purse of £5,000 (US$6,569).

Apparently only the winner also gets a membership at the London Library for a year, something that was offered to all the shortlisted writers last year. The British Council is to support the full shortlist in overseas promotion, however, which may become more valuable should travel become feasible soon.

This year’s five-title shortlist is one book larger than the program’s usual four.

Young Writer of the Year 2020 Shortlist

This year’s jurors are novelist Sebastian Faulks; short-story writer and novelist Tessa Hadley; novelist Kit de Waal; and literary critic Houman Barekat. As usual, the jury is chaired by Andrew Holgate, who is the Sunday Times literary editor.

In a prepared statement, juror Barekat says, “Shortlists don’t have to be eclectic, but it’s nice when they are.

“There’s something here for everyone. Naoise Dolan’s Exciting Times has a very contemporary fizz. The careful pacing of Marina Kemp’s Nightingale will appeal to readers of more conventional novels. The collage aesthetic of Jay Bernard’s Surge complements the more traditional lyricism of Seán Hewitt’s Tongues of Fire. While Catherine Cho’s illness memoir Inferno is a powerful work of nonfiction.”

The winner of this year’s honor is to be named on December 10.


More from Publishing Perspectives on publishing and book prizes is here, and more from us on the UK market is here.  More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.