Tag Archives: Costa First Novel Award

Debut Novels in the News

The Guardian recently profiled a collection of authors who are publishing UK debuts in 2015. The list includes Jessica Cornwell, the granddaughter of John le Carre, whose The Serpent Papers is a literary thriller about a rare book expert; and Laura Barnett, who wrote a book that captures the lives of two people in three parallel narratives called The Versions of Us. It also features a book I just started reading, Etta and Otto and Russell and James, by Emma Hooper, about an 80-year woman from rural Canada who walks 2,000 miles to see the ocean for the first time in her life.

The article provides background on eight authors, and their works, and then blurbs a handful more. It is nice way to read about some new and interesting authors, though the books might not publish in the US as soon as they do in the UK.

Also in the UK, the Costa Awards were announced and Emma Healey won the Costa First Novel Award for her book Elizabeth is Missing. It is a story about an older woman with dementia who decides to search for her missing best friend. The book has been described as an engaging psychological mystery.

In the US, Mitchell S. Jackson won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for his debut novel, The Residue Years. I have a copy of this book on my shelf and am looking forward to reading it. It has been noted for its unique narrative style (non-linear and with unconventional grammar and punctuation). Set in the 90s in Portland, OR, it tells the story of a young African-American man and his mother and how they struggle to make lives for themselves in a world where crack cocaine dominates their neighborhood.

So many intriguing books to read and never enough time to read them all! Unless those of us on the east coast get snowed in later tonight 😉

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