The Desmond Elliott Prize for New Fiction
The Desmond Elliott Prize, which aims to support new writers and to celebrate their fiction, was established in 2008 in honour of publisher and literary agent Desmond Elliott, one of the most charismatic and successful men in this field, who died in August 2003. He was best known as the man who persuaded Jilly Cooper to write novels.
To be eligible, the novel must be written in English and published in the UK. The prize is judged by a panel of three, who look for a novel with a compelling narrative, arresting character, and which is both vividly written and confidently realised. The winner is announced at a ceremony at Fortnum & Mason, Desmond Elliott's local grocer.
The 2013 judging panel was novelist Joanne Harris, Robert Collins, Deputy Literary Editor of The Sunday Times and Foyles' Head of Marketing, Miriam Robinson.
The 2013 prize was won by Ros Barber for The Marlowe Papers, a verse novel that suggests Christopher Marlowe was not killed ina tavern brawl after all, but instead went to live in exile in France and continued to write poems and plays under the name... William Shakespeare.
Miriam Robinson said iof the winner, 'Literary prizes are in many ways comparable to the role of the bookseller who, in offering enthusiastic and wholehearted recommendation for a title, can change its prospects within an incredibly crowded market. We have great faith that The Marlowe Papers will be a delight to all those who will now discover it, thanks to The Desmond Elliott Prize.'
Joanne Harris commented, 'It was incredibly hard to choose between these three talented writers. The Panopticon is epically masterful and atmospheric, whilst The Universe Versus Alex Woods is expertly plotted and charmingly quirky. All are great examples of the exceptionally high calibre of new writers in the UK and Ireland.'
2012 The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen
2011 Saraswati Park by Anjali Joseph
2010 The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw
2009 Blackmoor by Edward Hogan
2008 Gifted by Nikita Lalwani