The New York Times reviewed a debut novel this past Sunday, on its front Book Review page, that I have been reading about on other websites, Helene Wecker’s, The Golem and the Jinni. Not many debuts make it onto that cover page, so this is a huge boon for Wecker. The book is set in 1899 New York City, and combines Jewish and Arab mythology by telling the story of a golem and a jinni who both arrive as immigrants in New York and create new lives and identities for themselves.
USA Today regularly writes about debut novels and has a “New Voices” column. This week they are featuring a book that Barnes and Noble is also plugging in their Discover Great New Writers campaign, Bill Cheng’s Southern Cross the Dog, which is set Mississippi in 1927, after the Great Flood. The book has been noted for being a story about Southern African-Americans written by a Chinese-American man from Queens. Cheng says in the USA Today piece that the story was inspired by his love of the Delta blues. The book chronicles a young man’s struggle to regain his life after he losses everything in the storm.
And finally, for today, I’ve added a new page to the blog! I cull a lot of websites looking for debut books and decided to put together a list of notable U.S. and U.K. debut book prizes. I focused on prizes for published books, not the prizes that help authors get their first book published, so that you can use this list as a way to discover new debut books on your own.