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The Desmond Elliott Prize The Desmond Elliott Prize

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“The most prestigious award for 1st-time novelists” - Daily Telegraph Desmond Elliott Prize 2017 logo

The Desmond Elliott Prize 2017 Winner announced!

The winning novel was Golden Hill by Frances Spufford

In his speech at the ceremony, chair of judges Sam Leith described Golden Hill as “miraculously constructed… at once so fabulously entertaining, so exquisitely wrought and so moving that it stands among not just the best first novels of the year, but the best novels of this or any year.”

The Desmond Elliott Prize 2017 Shortlist is as follows:

Harmless Like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal
Golden Hill by Frances Spufford

Chair of Trustees for the Desmond Elliott Prize, Dallas Manderson said: “The judges have done a commendable job of selecting three titles from a strong, varied and ambitious longlist and we are delighted to present such an exemplary shortlist in our 10th anniversary year.”

The winner was revealed at a ceremony at Fortnum & Mason on 21 June 2017 where they will be presented with a cheque for £10,000. Find out more about the prize online.

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The Longlisted titles were:

Little Deaths by Emma Flint
Montpelier Parade by Karl Geary
The Transistion by Luke Kennard
Ithaca by Alan McMonagle
The Sacred Combe by Thomas Maloney
They Are Trying to Break Your Heart by David Savill
Forbidden Line by Paul Stanbridge

Chair of Judges, Sam Leith said: ‘I’m delighted to be contemplating a longlist with such a range of styles and registers, such a variety of publishers, and such a diverse list of authors. This very strong longlist affirms the vitality of debut fiction in the UK. And here’s a reminder too, in the sheer range of the authors’ day –jobs, that there is no one route to becoming a novelist. But each author has shown determination, imagination, optimism and – to nod to Kingsley Amis – the all-important ability to apply the seat of the trousers to the seat of the chair. Congratulations to all of them.’

Desmond Elliott Prize 2017 Judges

Sam Leith is joined on the judging panel by the award-winning author, Kamila Shamsie, and specialist book buyer for WH Smith, Iain Rushworth.

Desmond Elliott Prize Bookshelf 2017

Desmond Elliott’s own story began in an Irish orphanage. In 1947, aged 16 and with just two pounds in his pocket, he left for England to start his publishing career at Macmillan. Thereafter, he set up as an agent and subsequently went on to establish his own publishing company, Arlington Books, in 1960. The charismatic, witty and waspish Elliott – who drank only champagne, flew regularly by Concorde and used Fortnum & Mason as his local grocer – nurtured numerous blockbuster authors, including Jilly Cooper, Anthony Horowitz and Penny Vincenzi. He died in August 2003 at the age of 73.

Desmond Elliott

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
Kit de Waal
Emma Flint
Karl Geary
Luke Kennard
Alan McMonagle
Thomas Maloney
David Savill
Frances Spufford
Paul Stanbridge