Shortlist for the Sunday Times Young Writer Award announced

Four authors have been nominated for the Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer Award.

They include Tom Benn for his novel, Oxblood, about domesticity and violence, and Lucy Burns for her intimate memoir, Larger Than An Orange, about abortion.

Previous winners of the prize, which comes with a £10,000 prize, include Sally Rooney, Cal Flyn and Jay Bernard.

Born in 1985, Stockport-born author and screenwriter Benn had his first novel, The Doll Princess, shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Portico Prize.

Tom Benn - Ox Blood

Tom Benn’s Oxblood shortlisted for the award (The Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer Award/PA)

Born in 1991 and living in Manchester, Burns’ debut novel explores the emotional aftermath of abortion and the divide between politics and personal experience.

The other shortlisted authors are debut author Maddie Mortimer, for Maps Of Our Spectacular Bodies, and Katherine Rundell, for Super-Infinite, a non-fiction book about the poet John Donne.

Mortimer, who was born in London in 1996, is the youngest on the list and her book is a heartbreaking and darkly funny story about coming of age at the end of a life.

Rundell, from Oxford, born in 1987 and a fellow of All Souls College, is also the author of the adult book Why You Should Read Children’s Books Even If You Are So Old And Wise.

Katherine Rundell - Super infinite

Super-Infinite by Katherine Rundell is a non-fiction book about the poet John Donne (The Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer Award/PA)

Sebastian Faulks, Chairman of the Charlotte Aitken Trust, said: “The consistently high standard of the chosen books over the years and the literary and commercial success of the winners mean that the 2022 shortlist has a lot to live up to. But it looks excitingly well equipped to do that.”

Critic and journalist Stig Abell, poet Mona Arshi, author Oyinkan Braithwaite, former winner Francis Spufford, and former and current literary editor of The Sunday Times Andrew Holgate and Johanna Thomas-Corr, respectively, are among the jury.

Abell said: “It’s impossible for relatively young people to talk about writing without sounding old and jaded and a little jealous.

“But the books we’ve chosen are really exciting and fresh; they’re thought-provoking without being arcane, and innovative without being tedious.

“The central idea behind their selection is simple and what it always should be: they are great stories told in a way that sticks in your mind after you close the book.”

– The winner of the prize and the £10,000 prize will be announced on 14 March. Each shortlisted author will also receive £1,000.

Leave a Comment