The eight winners of the £40,000 Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize are tonight (Thursday 19 June) announced at a celebration in central London. Speaking at the Jerwood Space, writer and chair of judges Matt Haig will champion British fiction and the eight winners as prime examples of great British writing. The winners, who will each receive £5,000, are:
Ben Brooks, Lolito (Canongate)
Bernardine Evaristo, Mr Loverman (Hamish Hamilton)
Lesley Glaister, Little Egypt (Salt)
Cynan Jones, The Dig (Granta)
Gareth R Roberts, Whatever Happened to Billy Parks? (The Friday Project)
Naomi Wood, Mrs. Hemingway (Picador)
Gerard Woodward, Vanishing (Picador)
Evie Wyld, All the Birds, Singing (Vintage)
Established in 2011 to help readers discover great British writers, this year’s list of Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize winners celebrates the breadth and diversity in contemporary British writing.
Chair of judges and writer Matt Haig comments;
“We really didn’t want a list full of compromise choices and I think that decision has paid off. I can safely say that every book on that list I could strongly recommend to someone, and everyone’s favourites managed to make the final eight. We didn’t want a list that had too much of an agenda, other than to highlight novels and writers that should be on even more people’s bookshelves. I couldn’t be happier with the final eight books and authors, some of whom were totally new to me and my fellow judges. These are all great books that can be enjoyed, and which are filled with humanity. I am so proud of the list.”
Dedicated to helping British writers build their careers, this is the first time that the Fiction Uncovered prize has been able to offer prize money, thanks to a new partnership with the Jerwood Charitable Foundation. The £40,000 fund makes the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize one of the biggest literary prize funds awarded solely to British writers.
Shonagh Manson of the Jerwood Charitable Foundation comments;
“The Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize looks beyond debut novelists and bestsellers to the depth and vitality of British writing, responding to the real challenges writers face in gaining and maintaining traction within their careers. The expertise of The Literary Platform and the key partnerships they have developed around the Prize will be an exceptional boost for the winning writers. We are delighted that our founding of the Prize monies will provide financial support directly to each writer, and hope this will also help to take the influence of the Prize to a next level.”
Sitting alongside Matt Haig on the 2014 judging panel were: Arifa Akbar, literary editor of The Independent; Sam Jordison, journalist, publisher and writer; Greg Eden, online content and communities manager at Waterstones; and Julia Wharton, Jerwood Charitable Foundation Trustee.
The eight winning books will be supported by leading retailers with promotions planned with Waterstones, WHSmith Travel, eBooks by Sainsburys, Foyles and Kobo. They will also form a key part of Jerwood Fiction Uncovered FM which will be hosted on Resonance104.4fm on Sunday 13 July from 12 noon to 5pm. Each writer also receives a handmade binding of their book by artist bookbinders.