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Rachel Joyce is shortlisted for the 2012 Desmond Elliott Prize
by Kate on May 24, 2012 at 10:47 am
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Announced today, Rachel Joyce’s novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry has joined the shortlist of 3 for the 2012 Desmond Elliott Prize. The Prize celebrates the very best of debut fiction by the rising stars of the literary world.

The shortlist for The Desmond Elliott Prize 2012 is as follows:

• The Land Of Decoration by Grace McCleen (Chatto & Windus)
• The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness (Seren)
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Doubleday)

This year’s shortlist has been selected from a longlist of ten, announced in April. The three shortlisted authors are: poet and academic Patrick McGuinness, whose novel The Last Hundred Days was inspired by his years in Bucharest in the lead up to the Romanian revolution; Transworld’s award-winning radio playwright Rachel Joyce, whose book The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was originally drafted as a radio play for her dying father, and Grace McCleen with The Land Of Decoration, a story based on the author’s own upbringing in a Christian fundamentalist sect in Wales.

Sam Llewellyn, 2012 Chair of Judges and one of Desmond Elliott’s own protégés, commented:
‘It has been extraordinarily hard to choose a shortlist of three from such a powerful and diverse longlist. Desmond Elliott once told me that his ideal novel was a cross between a treasure hunt and a race. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is both these things, and a lot more besides. The Last Hundred Days, written with wit and irony, is a really fine and original addition to the literature of disintegrating empires, and The Land of Decoration is unlike anything you’ve ever read. It’s a rollercoaster of a book that makes the reader laugh and cry at entirely unpredictable intervals.’

Sam Llewellyn is joined on the judging panel by Tom Gatti, Editor of The Times Review section, and Caroline Mileham, Head of Books at Play.com.

William Hill spokesman, Graham Sharpe, commented that ‘despite having dramatically varying themes, it is very difficult to differentiate between three brilliant debut novels’, but gave Rachel Joyce a narrow lead with the following odds:

• The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce – 5/4
• The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness – 7/4
• The Land Of Decoration by Grace McCleen – 2/1

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the £10,000 award for a first novel published in the UK, set up in memory of the celebrated publisher and literary agent Desmond Elliott to ‘enrich the careers of new writers’.

The winner will be announced on Thursday 28 June

For more information visit the Desmond Elliott website www.desmondelliottprize.org
To order your copy of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold fry click here

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