The Desmond Elliott Prize

Posted 16 Jun 2015 by Jane Mathieson in Competitions & Prizes

Sometimes I feel as if I can’t keep up with all the book prizes

and their longlists and shortlists, even though I know that they are an ideal opportunity for libraries to promote some great contemporary titles to their users.

I have become very excited by this one though, as for once I feel I know something about the 3 shortlisted titles. That’s another selling point for this prize too- only 3 titles on the shortlist. Means its possible to read them all and form an opinion on which one deserves to win

This is how the website describes the prize: Photo of display stand

Every year, a panel of three judges is asked to look for a novel which has a compelling narrative, arresting characters and which is both vividly written and confidently realised. Books from all fiction genres are considered. Worth £10,000 to the winner, the Prize is intended to support new writers and to celebrate their fiction. It was created in memory of the charismatic publisher and literary agent Desmond Elliott, who died in August 2003. He stipulated that his estate should be invested in a charitable trust that would fund a literary award “to enrich the careers of new writers”.

The 3 shortlisted titles this year are:

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller and A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray. Reading Agency staff have already read and reviewed these for us

If I had a vote I’d be really torn. I’m currently loving Our Endless Numbered Days which is fantastically well written and engaging. I did enjoy Elizabeth is Missing when I read it a while ago as I recognised so much in it. I haven’t read Issy Bradley yet, but Carys Bray lives in this region so I consider her “one of ours” and I would love to see her win. I’ll read her book next and make my mind up on which I think is “most vividly realised and confidently written”, but I guess I’ll be pleased whoever wins this one.

Barrow Library (Cumbria) continues its tradition of creating imaginative book displays and have put a lot of effort into this one (pictured).

North West Libraries

Librarians in the North West have pioneered partnership working to encourage new readers into libraries. Time To Read is a partnership of librarians engaged in reader development activity in public library authorities in the North West Region. 22 public library authorities in the region currently support Time To Read.

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