Today, the Authors’ Club announces the longlist for the annual Best First Novel Award. The longlisted books are as follows:

Shahnaz Ahsan Hashim & Family (John Murray)

Molly Aitken The Island Child (Canongate)

Ellen Alpsten Tsarina (Bloomsbury Publishing)  

Rosanna Amaka The Book of Echoes (Doubleday)

Deepa Anappara Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line (Chatto & Windus)

Sairish Hussain The Family Tree (HQ) 

Gabriel Krauze Who They Was (4th Estate) 

Frances Macken You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here (Oneworld)  

Paul Mendez Rainbow Milk (Dialogue Books) 

Beth Morrey Saving Missy (Harper Fiction) 

Ingrid Persaud Love After Love(Faber & Faber) 

Stephanie Scott What’s Left of Me is Yours (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

Lucy Popescu (chair of the judging panel) commented: “We are thrilled to announce this diverse longlist of remarkable first-time novelists who cover an array of subjects from love and murder in Japan to London’s gang culture, from Tsarist Russia and slavery in Nigeria to the plight of children in the slums of India, as well as celebrating the importance of friendship and community closer to home. Once again women dominate the longlist. Here are twelve debut novelists tackling important and topical themes.” 

Key Dates

Shortlist announcement: 26 March 

The winner will be announced at a dinner at the National Liberal Club: Wednesday 19 May

About the Prize: 

The winning novel is selected by guest adjudicator Michèle Roberts from a shortlist drawn up by a panel of Authors’ Club members, chaired by Lucy Popescu

The prize is open to any debut novel written in English and published in the UK between 1 Jan and 31 Dec 2020. The prize of £2500 exists to support UK-based authors, publishers and agents, so the novel must originate in the UK and not have been published anywhere else in the world before its UK publication 

Inaugurated in 1954, the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award is now in its 67th year, making it the longest-running UK prize for debut fiction and – except for the James Tait Black and the Hawthornden – the oldest literary prize in Britain.

Past winners have included Brian Moore, Alan Sillitoe, Paul Bailey, Gilbert Adair, Nadeem Aslam, Diran Adebayo, Jackie Kay, Susan Fletcher, Nicola Monaghan, Laura Beatty, Anthony Quinn, Jonathan Kemp, Kevin Barry, Ros Barber, Hisayo Rowan Buchanan, Gail Honeyman and Guy Gunaratne. Last year’s prize was awarded to Claire Adam.

Past adjudicators have included Andrew Miller, Louise Doughty, AL Kennedy, Vikram Seth, Philip Hensher, Joanne Harris, Deborah Moggach and, going back further, Kingsley Amis and Compton Mackenzie.

About The Authors’ Club

Established by Walter Besant in 1891, the Club has provided a social meeting place for writers for 130 years.