Announcing The Folio Prize shortlist

We mentioned on our latest podcast that the shortlist for The Folio Prize would be announced today, and here it is! Eight titles, from which one winner will be chosen, and announced 23rd March 2015…

  • 10:04 by Ben Lerner
  • ALL MY PUNY SORROWS by Miriam Toews
  • DEPT. OF SPECULATION by Jenny Offill
  • DUST by Yvonne Adhiambo
  • FAMILY LIFE by Akhil Sharma
  • HOW TO BE BOTH by Ali Smith
  • NORA WEBSTER by Colm Toibin
  • OUTLINE by Rachel Cusk

What do you think? There are a number of titles there that seem much more familiar than last year’s shortlist, and that have popped up on other recent Prize lists. Which have you read? – let us know what you thought of them!

The 2015 judging panel consists of William FiennesRachel CookeMohsin HamidA. M. Homes and Deborah Levy, all drawn from the members of the Folio Academy.

Announcing the shortlist, Chair of Judges William Fiennes, said: 

“This shortlist is the result of months of reading and hours of passionate conversation. The eight books we’ve chosen explore vast themes – time, loss, belonging, war, solitude, marriage and family, the making and the mystery of art – with amazing vitality and grace. 

“They manage to be both epic and intimate – in fact, they show those dimensions to be two sides of the same coin. They’ve surprised, moved, challenged and enchanted us. They’ve made us laugh. They’ve grown and deepened when we read them again. 

“But it’s not just the richness and fire of the individual books. We’re excited by the range of ideas, voices and approaches represented here, and by the way our shortlist shows the novel refreshing itself, reaching out for new shapes and strategies, still discovering what it might be, what it might do.”

The winner of the £40,000 prize will be announced 23rd March and mark the culmination of the second Folio Fiction Prize Festival.

Some people feel The Folio Prize is a little controversial, as it was set up, in early 2013, apparently in response to a perceived growing commercialism, or increased ‘readability’, in the Man Booker Prize finalists. However, the Folio Prize site explains, “The sole criterion for judgment will be excellence: to identify works of fiction in which the story being told and the subjects being explored achieve their most perfect and thrilling expression”. The Prize “is open to all works of fiction written in English and published in the UK. All genres and all forms of fiction are eligible. The format of first publication may be print or digital.”

Find out more about The Folio Prize here.

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