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Desmond Elliott Prize judging panel unveiled

7th March 2012

The judging panel for the 2012 Desmond Elliott Prize for New Fiction, which recognises the best debut novels published in the UK, has been announced.

Since being established in 2008 in honour of the late publisher and literary agent Desmond Elliott, the prize has become one of the richest literary awards in the country, with GBP 40,000 awarded to the winner.

This year, three judges will be tasked with drawing up a longlist of 12 debut works, before whittling this down to three contenders and an eventual winner.

The chair of the panel is novelist, columnist and editor Sam Llewellyn, who has a particularly pertinent connection to Elliott and the award, having had his own debut novel commissioned by the publisher in 1976.

He will be assisted by Tom Gatti, current deputy editor of The Times' Saturday Review section, and book buyer Caroline Mileham.

Llewellyn said he remembers Elliott with 'great affection' and spoke of his delight at being asked to chair the panel.

'He was enormously encouraging to me as a new writer. It is a real delight to have the chance to pass on some of that enthusiasm to other new writers through the prize that bears his name.'

The longlist for the award will be unveiled next month, before a three-strong shortlist is announced in May and the eventual winner is named at a ceremony at Fortnum & Mason in London on June 28th.

This year's recipient will follow in the footsteps of Anjali Joseph, who scooped the 2011 Desmond Elliott Prize for her acclaimed debut novel Saraswati Park.

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