The Guardian first book award was established in 1999. It is awarded annually to first-time authors writing in English, or translated into English, across all genres.
Winner of the Guardian First Book Award 2013. The Spinning Heart speaks for contemporary Ireland like no other novel. Wry, vulnerable, all-too human, it captures the language and spirit of rural Ireland and with uncanny perception articulates the words and thoughts of a generation. Technically daring and evocative of Patrick McCabe and J.M. Synge, this novel of small-town life is witty, dark and sweetly poignant. Donal Ryan's brilliantly realized debut announces a stunning new voice in literary fiction. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013.
Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2013. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013. Darling and her friends live in a shanty called Paradise, which of course is no such thing. It isn't all bad, though. There's mischief and adventure, games of Find bin Laden, stealing guavas, singing Lady Gaga at the tops of their voices. They dream of the paradises of America, Dubai, Europe, where Madonna and Barack Obama and David Beckham live. For Darling, that dream will come true. But, like the thousands of people all over the world trying to forge new lives far from home, Darling finds this new paradise brings its own set of challenges - for her and also for those she's left behind.
Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2013. September 2013 Debut of the Month. This mesmerising and evocative debut based on a true story about the last execution in Iceland is well written, well documented and exhaustively researched. Agnes Magnusdottir is sent to a farm in northern Iceland, awaiting execution for the murder of her lover, but as she tells her story to a local priest it is clear truth very much depends on who it is you believe. With its harsh winter setting and subject matter, the book is emotionally draining but compelling nonetheless. The characters and detail bring this forgotten time, place and lifestyle vividly to life. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Burial Rites a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'Burial Rites is a mesmerising piece of historical fiction and one of the best début novels I have ever encountered.' - Nicola Foster Scroll down to read more reviews.
One of our Books of the Year 2013. Original, haunting and utterly gripping, Kiss Me First is The Talented Mr Ripley for the online age .... Fans of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson and Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller, will find Lottie Moggach's Kiss Me First an electrifying and unputdownable debut. Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2013. July 2013 Debut of the Month. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Kiss Me First a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'Kiss Me First is one of those books that grabs you from the very beginning...There is mystery here and an intricate plot that does not fail in keeping you interested making this an easy fast paced read.' - Edel Waugh. Scroll down to read more reviews.
Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2013. From pregnant virgins to desperate housewives, from fearless activists to religious firebrands, this book looks at the sexual history of the Arab region, and brings voices to the debate over its future. It offers an account of one woman's journey to understand Arab society at its intimate, and in the process, better understand her own origins.
Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2013. Struck through with brilliant and sometimes sinister imagery reminiscent of Pan's Labyrinth or an Angela Carter novel, The Shipwrecked House is a unique and hallucinatory debut from a poet-to-watch.
Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2013. An inspiring, revelatory and often moving investigation of courage in all its forms. From frontline to skyscraper, from mountain peak to suburban street, the journey takes in philosophy, literature, propaganda and popular culture, as Morland weaves together a modern anatomy of an age-old virtue, in order to discover how a Timid Soul may become a brave one.
Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2013. A book about our failure: failure as individuals, the failure of business, and the failure of our politicians. It is about an unprecedented planetary emergency. It's about the future of us.
Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2013. The Hive is an irresistible, brilliantly observed novel - warm, witty and true. Wickedly funny, it is also a fascinating and subtle story about group politics and female friendship. From the joys and perils (well, mainly perils) of the Lunch Ladder, to the military operation that is the Car Boot Sale, via the dos and don'ts of dressing your child as a dalek, all human life is here.
Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2013. What is money, and how does it work? The conventional answer is that people once used sugar in the West Indies, tobacco in Virginia, and dried cod in Newfoundland, and that today's financial universe evolved from barter. Unfortunately, there is a problem with this story. It's wrong. And not just wrong, but dangerous. Money: the Unauthorised Biography unfolds a panoramic secret history and explains the truth about money: what it is, where it comes from, and how it works.
Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2013. We are all storytellers - we make stories to make sense of our lives. But it is not enough to tell tales. There must be someone to listen. In his work as a practising psychoanalyst, Stephen Grosz has spent the last twenty-five years uncovering the hidden feelings behind our most baffling behaviour. The Examined Life distils over 50,000 hours of conversation into pure psychological insight, without the jargon. This extraordinary book is about one ordinary process: talking, listening and understanding. Its aphoristic and elegant stories teach us a new kind of attentiveness. They also unveil a delicate self-portrait of the analyst at work, and show how lessons learned in the consulting room can reveal as much to him as to the patient. These are stories about our everyday lives: they are about the people we love and the lies that we tell; the changes we bear, and the grief. Ultimately, they show us not only how we lose ourselves but how we might find ourselves too.
The best and brightest literary debuts
Now in its 15th year, the award is unique in judging debut works of fiction alongside those of non-fiction and is the only literary award that rewards first time writers.
The winner of the Guardian first book award is The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan
The 5 shortlisted titles were:
Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach (Fiction: Picador)
The judging panel is chaired by Lisa Allardice, editor of Guardian Review, who said: "Each year I'm always surprised at how many incredibly accomplished debuts we find among the more than 100 books submitted. With only one non-fiction title, Sex and the Citadel by Shereen el Feki, making it onto the shortlist, this seems to be an especially strong year for fiction, from the story of a brutal murder in 19th-century Iceland to a thriller for the Facebook generation. And among our extremely talented shortlisted authors, Irish novelist Donal Ryan is the only male contender. With such a competitive line up, I'm really looking forward to next week's judging lunch. It could be a long one..."
The winning title was unveiled on 28th November at The Tate Modern in central London.
Previous winners of the prize include White Teeth by Zadie Smith, Mountains of the Mind by Robert Macfarlane, The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee, and the 2012 winner Kevin Powers for The Yellow Birds.
The Guardian First Book Award 2013 Longlist was as follows:
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (Fiction: Chatto & Windus)
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (Fiction: Picador)
Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach (Fiction: Picador)
The Hive by Gill Hornby (Fiction: Little, Brown)
The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan (Fiction: Doubleday Ireland)
Sex and the Citadel by Shereen El Feki (Non-fiction: Chatto & Windus)
The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves by Stephen Grosz (Non-fiction: Chatto & Windus)
10 Billion by Stephen Emmott (Non-fiction: Penguin)
Money: The Unauthorised Biography by Felix Martin (Non-fiction: Bodley Head)
The Society of Timid Souls by Polly Morland (Non-fiction: Profile)
The Shipwrecked House by Claire Trévien (Poetry: Penned in the Margins)