The Society of Authors (SoA) this week announced the shortlists for the ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award, the Betty Trask Prize, the Paul Torday Memorial Prize, the Queen’s Knickers Award, the McKitterick Prize, the Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize, and the books celebrated by the ADCI Literary Prize.

The winners, to be announced on 20th June at Southwark Cathedral, will share a prize fund of over £140,000. The awards ceremony will be presented by Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin and keynote speaker Kate Mosse. Tickets to the in-person event can be purchased here. The event will be livestreamed.

Winners of the Travelling Scholarships, Cholmondeley Awards, Eric Gregory Awards and Somerset Maugham Awards will also be announced on the night.

ADCI Literary Prize

Sponsored by Arts Council England, the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), the Drusilla Harvey Memorial Fund, and the Professional Writing Academy, the ADCI Literary Prize is awarded to a disabled or chronically ill writer, for an outstanding novel containing a disabled or chronically ill character or characters.

  • All the Little Bird Hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow
  • Mother Sea by Lorraine Wilson 

Judge Nii Ayikwei Parkes said: "The books we have chosen to celebrate this year are stealthy books; they sneak into one's consciousness with the nous of stray cats, creeping along the walls until they emerge to rub against you. Then, all of a sudden, their claws are in and you can't forget them. Disabilities and chronic illnesses are handled with nary a hint of sensationalism, and it is storytelling that wins, giving insights into worlds that many people do not encounter regularly. There was a range of compelling books in the reading we did for the competition, but the two books we have chosen to celebrate are not only works of fine, restrained prose, they are haunting, they are books of remarkable ambition, they are books that will stay with their readers."

ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award

Sponsored by ALCS and Hawthornden Foundation, 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.

  • A/A/A/A/ by Amy Wood
  • This Story by Alexandra Ye 
  • The Staring Contest by Trahearne Falvey
  • Little Green Man by Edward Hogan
  • Arewa Boys by Hussani Abdulrahim

Judge Peter Hobbs said: "I think we’re all immensely proud of the range and quality of our shortlist. It was a long and hard-fought process working our way down to these five outstanding examples of the form, which showcase the ways the short story can distil and contain whole lives and worlds."

Betty Trask Prize

The Betty Trask Prize is presented for a first novel by a writer under 35.

  • Lazy City by Rachel Connolly 
  • The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa by Stephen Buoro
  • Whaling by Nathan Munday
  • Our Hideous Progeny by C.E. McGill
  • The New Life by Tom Crewe
  • Neon Roses by Rachel Dawson

Judge Anjali Joseph said: "The shortlist this year includes several historical novels, and a few that take elements of classics – Moby Dick, Frankenstein – and make them into something new. All of the shortlisted novels delighted us with their freshness and each had a voice that was distinctively and recognisably its own."

Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize

The Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize is awarded to a UK or Irish writer, or a writer currently resident in those countries, for a novel focusing on the experience of travel away from home. In memory of Malcolm Lowry and endowed by Gordon Bowker, his biographer, and Ramdei Bowker.

  • Enter Ghost by Isabella Hammad
  • One Small Voice by Santanu Bhattacharya
  • Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin
  • Wild Geese by Soula Emmanuel

Judge Kerry Young said: "This year’s Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize shortlist is a treasure trove of wonderous storytelling from four writers who know that the personal is the political. Soula Emmanuel’s Copenhagen-based Wild Geese is observant and poetic. Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin journeys from Vietnam to London, reminding us of the suffering caused by the loss of one’s sense of place and belonging. Santanu Bhattacharya’s India-set One Small Voice triumphs the resilience of the human spirit from beginning to end. And Isabella Hammad’s Palestine-focussed Enter Ghost comments on the nature of resistance with care and poise. These books should be cherished for their social and political insights as well as for the splendour of their prose."

McKitterick Prize

Sponsored by Hawthornden Foundation, the McKitterick Prize is awarded for a first novel by a writer over 40.

  • The Old Haunts by Allan Radcliffe
  • The Red Bird Sings by Aoife Fitzpatrick
  • The Dimensions of a Cave by Greg Jackson
  • The Funeral Cryer by Wenyan Lu
  • Now I Am Here by Chidi Ebere
  • Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks

Judge Rónán Hession said: "It is exciting to judge a prize and encounter such a depth of talent. Though hugely varied in subject matter and style, the writers on the shortlist all impressed me with the clarity of their creative vision and their narrative authority on the page."

Paul Torday Memorial Prize

The Paul Torday Memorial Prize is awarded to a first novel by a writer over 60. The prize includes a set of the collected works of British writer Paul Torday, who published his first novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen at the age of 60. It is indebted to W & N Fiction for generously providing these books.

  • Cuckoo in the Nest by Fran Hill
  • Daisy Chain by Justine Gilbert
  • Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks
  • Orfeo's Last Act by Michelene Wandor
  • Sea Defences by Hilary Taylor 

Judge Gaby Koppel said: "I found the entries as a whole bursting with creative energy, wisdom and often humour. Among them I found bold stylistic innovation, the reflection of different cultures and sensitivities and familiar events seen from fresh perspectives. Some of the authors had undertaken meticulous research in order to explore particular moments in time and place. All of them challenge the cliches about ageing by showing that mature minds can master the art of writing fiction, but also go beyond that, entering into fresh territory to produce original work, crackling with imagination and ideas.

Queen’s Knickers Award

Sponsored by its founder Nicholas Allan, the Queen’s Knickers Award is an annual prize for an outstanding children’s original illustrated book for ages 0-7. It recognises books that strike a quirky, new note and grab the attention of a child, whether in the form of curiosity, amusement, horror or excitement.

Judge Salomey Doku said: "The books that made it onto the Queen’s Knickers shortlist all had a distinct appeal to us as judges in one way or another – whether it was in the message they conveyed, the quality of illustrations, or the timeless nature they possessed, each and every book earned its place on the list."