Society of Authors 2019 awards shortlists unveiled

News - Prizes Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Thirty-one authors shortlisted for five awards including 81-year old Irish debut novelist; £100,000 prize pot up for grabs


The shortlists for the Betty Trask, McKitterick, Somerset Maugham, ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust awards and the inaugural Paul Torday Memorial Prize, an award for a first novel by a writer over 60, were announced by The Society of Authors this morning.

Shortlisted authors include Heather Morris (The Tattooist of Auschwitz), Women’s Prize shortlisted Imogen Hermes Gower (The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock), Costa Short Story Award shortlisted Sheila Llewellyn (Walking Wounded), 2015 Desmond Elliott Prize winner, Claire Fuller (Tiny and Pointed) and independent bookseller, Samuel Fisher (The Chameleon) amongst a list of 31 shortlisted writers and poets. Broadcaster and journalist, Sally Magnusson (The Sealwoman’s Gift) and debut author Anne Youngson, (Meet Me at the Museum) have been shortlisted for two prizes.

The shortlisted writers include established bestsellers, debut authors, poets and short story writers with the oldest nominee, Irish debut novelist Norma MacMaster, aged 81 (pictured).

The judges for the awards, including Kate Mosse, Gary Younge, Mark Lawson, Anita Sethi, Vaseem Khan, Susan Hill, Stuart Evers, Irenosen Okojie and Jen Campbell, praised: "inventive, courageous, challenging and evocative writing that explores both the everyday and the extraordinary."

The five prizes will be awarded at the Society of Authors’ Awards on Monday 17 June, when the UK’s biggest literary fund of more than £100,000 will be distributed.

Below are the shortlists for each prize.

The Betty Trask Prize and Awards
The Betty Trask Prize and Awards are presented for a first novel by a writer under 35. Judged by Ben Brooks, Elanor Dymott and Vaseem Khan.

The Litten Path by James Clarke (Salt)
The Chameleon by Samuel Fisher (Salt)
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gower (Harvill Secker)
Paul by Daisy Lafarge (unpublished)
Sweet Fruit, Sour Land by Rebecca Ley (Sandstone Press)
The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh (Hamish Hamilton)
The Watermelon Boys by Ruqaya Izzidien (Hoopoe/AUC Press)

The total prize and award fund is £26,250.


McKitterick Prize
The McKitterick Prize is awarded to a first novel by a writer over 40. Judged by Susan Hill, Chris Taylor and Abir Mukherjee.

What We’re Teaching Our Sons by Owen Booth (4th Estate)
West by Carys Davies (Granta Books)
Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott (Hutchinson)
Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday (Granta Books)
The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson (Two Roads)
Who’s Who When Everyone is Someone Else by C.D.Rose (Melville House)
Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson (Doubleday)

The total prize fund is £5,250.


The ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award
Sponsored by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, the ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award is awarded for a short story by a writer who has had at least one short story accepted for publication. Judged by Stuart Evers and Irenosen Okojie.

Once We Were Syrians by Dima Alzayat
Gerardo Dreams of Chillies by Niall Bourke
Tiny and Pointed by Claire Fuller
The Kids by Bruce Meyer
Blessing by Bunmi Ogunsiji

The total award fund is £1,575.


Paul Torday Memorial Prize
The inaugural Paul Torday Memorial Prize will be awarded to a first novel by a writer over 60. Prize fund is £1,000 plus a set of the collected works of British writer Paul Torday, who himself only published his first novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen at the age of 60. Judged by Mark Lawson, Kate Mosse and Anita Sethi.

Sealskin by Su Bristow (Orenda Books)
Walking Wounded by Sheila Llewellyn (Sceptre)
Silence Under a Stone by Norma MacMaster (Doubleday Ireland)
The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson (Two Roads)
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Zaffre)
Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson (Doubleday)


The Somerset Maugham Awards
The Somerset Maugham Awards are for published works of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by writers under 35, to enable them to enrich their work by gaining experience of foreign countries. Judged by Jen Campbell, Barney Norris and Ian Thomson.

The Perseverence by Raymond Antrobus (Penned in the Margins)
The Stopping Places by Damian Le Bas (Chatto & Windus)
Shrines of Upper Austria by Phoebe Power (Carcanet)
The Golden Thread by Kassia St. Clair (John Murray)
The Crossway by Guy Stagg (Picador)
Mrs Gaskell and Me by Nell Stevens (Picador)

The total prize fund is £16,000.

The Society of Authors’ Awards and Summer Party, presented by Jackie Kay and sponsored by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), will take place at Southwark Cathedral on the evening of Monday 17th June 2019 with 500 guests from across publishing and SoA membership.
Further awards presented on the evening will include the Eric Gregory Awards for a collection of poems by a poet under 30, the Cholmondeley Awards for a body of work by a poet, the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography and the Travelling Scholarships awarded to British creative writers.



Pictured: Norma MacMaster

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