The Society of Authors has announced the 2017 shortlist for the Betty Trask Prize.
The shortlist features six debut literary novels by authors under the age of 35 and includes a self-published novel for the first time.
Nigerian author Elnathan John has made the shortlist for his novel Born on a Tuesday, which the judges called: ‘A tough, topical, directly-written book, devoid of sentimentality, and yet engaging, troubling and sad. The sense of place is wholly immersive, conjuring the villages and roads of troubled Nigeria with a deft and effortless touch.’
The 2017 Betty Trask shortlist
- Rowan Hisayo Buchanan – Harmless Like You (Sceptre / Hodder & Stoughton)
- Elnathan John – Born on a Tuesday (Cassava Books Republic)
- Kathleen Jowitt – Speak its Name (self-published)
- Rob McCarthy – The Hollow Men (Mulholland Books / Hodder & Stoughton)
- Barney Norris – Five Rivers Meet on a Wooded Plain (Transworld)
- Daniel Shand – Fallow (Sandstone Press Limited)
The judges this year were authors Simon Brett, Michéle Roberts and Joanne Harris. Commenting on the shortlist, Michéle Roberts said:
The merchants of gloom keep declaring that the novel is dead but people do keep on writing them. The entries for this year’s Betty Trask Prize formed a particularly rich and varied collection. The shortlist features pleasingly original approaches to novel-writing and is characterised by diversity of subject, tone and voice, by the authors’ passion, intelligence and deep commitment to their art.