28 March 2018
Rathbones Folio Prize shortlist

The shortlist for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2018 was announced last night (28 March), with six Penguin Random House titles featured on the eight-strong list.

The nominations are split between Vintage and Penguin General, with three nods each. Vintage's entries include Ghosts of the Tsunami  by Richard Lloyd Parry (Jonathan Cape), The Day that Went Missing by Richard Beard (Harvill Secker) and Once Upon a Time in the East by Xiaolu Guo (Chatto & Windus) - with Elizabeth Strout's Anything is Possible (Viking), Mohsin Hamid's Exit West and Hari Kunzru's White Tears (both Hamish Hamilton) representing Penguin General.

Ghosts of the Tsunami

On 11 March 2011, a massive earthquake sent a 120-foot-high tsunami smashing into the coast of north-east Japan. By the time the sea retreated, more than 18,500 people had been crushed, burned to death, or drowned.

It was Japan’s greatest single loss of life since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. It set off a national crisis, and the meltdown of a nuclear power plant. And even after the immediate emergency had abated, the trauma of the disaster continued to express itself in bizarre and mysterious ways.

Richard Lloyd Parry, an award-winning foreign correspondent, lived through the earthquake in Tokyo, and spent six years reporting from the disaster zone. There he encountered stories of ghosts and hauntings. He met a priest who performed exorcisms on people possessed by the spirits of the dead. And he found himself drawn back again and again to a village which had suffered the greatest loss of all, a community tormented by unbearable mysteries of its own.

What really happened to the local children as they waited in the school playground in the moments before the tsunami? Why did their teachers not evacuate them to safety? And why was the unbearable truth being so stubbornly covered up?

The Day that Went Missing

On a family holiday in Cornwall in 1978, Richard and Nicholas are in the sea, jumping the waves. Suddenly and inexplicably Nicholas is out of his depth and then, shockingly, so is Richard. Only one of the brothers returns to the shore.

Richard does not attend Nicholas’s funeral and afterwards the family return to Cornwall to continue the holiday. Soon they stop speaking of that day at the beach altogether. Years later, haunted by grief, Richard sets out to piece together the story. Who was Nicholas? What really happened that day? And why did the family never speak of it again?

Once Upon a Time in the East

Xiaolu Guo meets her parents for the first time when she is almost seven. They are strangers to her.

When she is born in 1973, her parents hand her over to a childless peasant couple in the mountains. Aged two, and suffering from malnutrition on a diet of yam leaves, they leave Xiaolu with her illiterate grandparents in a fishing village on the East China Sea.

Once Upon a Time in the East takes Xiaolu from a run-down shack to film school in a rapidly changing Beijing, navigating the everyday peculiarity of modern China: censorship, underground art, Western boyfriends. In 2002 she leaves Beijing on a scholarship to study in Britain. Now, after a decade in Europe, her tale of East to West resonates with the insight that can only come from someone who is both an outsider and at home.

Anything is Possible

Recalling Olive Kitteridge in its richness, structure, and complexity, Anything Is Possible explores the whole range of human emotion through the intimate dramas of people struggling to understand themselves and others. Anything is Possible tells the story of the inhabitants of rural, dusty Amgash, Illinois, the hometown of Lucy Barton, a successful New York writer who finally returns, after seventeen years of absence, to visit the siblings she left behind.

Reverberating with the deep bonds of family, and the hope that comes with reconciliation, Anything Is Possible again underscores Elizabeth Strout's place as one of America's most respected and cherished authors.

Exit West

An extraordinary story of love and hope from the bestselling, Man Booker-shortlisted author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

Nadia and Saeed are two ordinary young people, attempting to do an extraordinary thing - to fall in love - in a world turned upside down. Theirs will be a love story but also a story about how we live now and how we might live tomorrow, of a world in crisis and two human beings travelling through it.

Civil war has come to the city which Nadia and Saeed call home. Before long they will need to leave their motherland behind - when the streets are no longer useable and the unknown is safer than the known. They will join the great outpouring of people fleeing a collapsing city, hoping against hope, looking for their place in the world...

White Tears

Two twenty-something New Yorkers: Seth, awkward and shy, and Carter, the trust fund hipster. They have one thing in common: an obsession with music. Rising fast on the New York producing scene, they stumble across an old blues song long forgotten by history -- and everything starts to unravel. Carter is drawn far down a path that allows no return, and Seth has no choice but to follow his friend into the darkness.

Electrifying, subversive and wildly original, White Tears is a ghost story and a love story, a story about lost innocence and historical guilt. This unmissable novel penetrates the heart of a nation's darkness, encountering a suppressed history of greed, envy, revenge and exploitation, and holding a mirror up to the true nature of America today.

The prize is open to all works of literature written in English and published within the UK - and all adult forms of literature are eligible (including both fiction and non-fiction).

This year's judging panel consists of authors Jim Crace, Nikesh Shukla and Kate Summerscale with the winner being presented with a cheque for £20,000 on the 8th May. The winner will then go on to appearances at The Bath Festival (24th May, in conversation with Nikesh Shukla) and Hay Festival (26th May, in conversation with Kate Summerscale).

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