Three debut Penguin Random House authors receive nods in the Desmond Elliott Prize longlist

the Desmond Elliott Prize longlist

Three Penguin Random House titles have been selected for this year’s Desmond Elliott Prize longlist; making up over a quarter of the ten-strong list. Imogen Hermes Gowar’s widely-praised debut The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock  (Harvill Secker), which has also been longlisted for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, is the only title published in 2018 to make the final ten. She joins Carmen Marcus (How Saints Die, Harvill Secker) and Paula Cocozza (How to be Human, Hutchinson) on this year’s list, described as “exemplary” by the Chairman of the Prize’s trustees, Dallas Manderson. You can find out more about our three featured titles below.

The Prize, which is presented in the name of the late, acclaimed literary agent and publisher, Desmond Elliott, is an annual award for a first novel written in English and published in the UK. The winner is presented with a prize of £10,000.

When choosing the winner, a panel of three judges will look for a novel "which has a compelling narrative, arresting character, and which is both vividly written and confidently realised".

The Chairman of the Prize’s trustees, Dallas Manderson said: “It is a pleasure to reveal this exemplary longlist, containing such a powerful array of distinctive voices. We are extremely pleased to see that some publishers appear to be investing more in debut fiction, as evidenced from the success of several of the novels on our longlist. However, as the point of our prize is to help debut writers sustain their careers, we hope that investment continues to our authors’ second and third books.”

Judge for this year’s Prize and award-winning journalist, Samira Ahmed said: “I haven’t judged a book prize before but it has always been debut novels that have most intrigued me and provided some of my most fascinating conversations with writers. I’ve never loved anything more than reading so I can’t think of anything more delightful than being presented with so many titles by new talents.”

In alphabetical order, the full shortlist is as follows:

  • The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times by Xan Brooks (Salt)
  • How to be Human by Paula Cocozza (Hutchinson)
  • The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar (Harvill Secker)
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (HarperCollins)
  • Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak (Piatkus)
  • Peculiar Ground by Lucy Hughes-Hallett (4th Estate)
  • How Saints Die by Carmen Marcus (Harvill Secker)
  • One Star Awake by Andrew Meehan (New Island)
  • Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber)
  • We That Are Young by Preti Taneja (Galley Beggar Press)

You can learn more about the award and the other featured titles here.

Here's more information on our three longlisted titles:

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