The Betty Trask Prize and Awards are presented for a first novel by a writer under 35. Past winners include Zadie Smith, David Szalay, Hari Kunzru and Sarah Waters. Total prize and award fund is £26,250. The Authors’ Awards, presented by Stephen Fry, will take place at RIBA on the evening of Thursday 19 July.
The City Always Wins by Omar Robert Hamilton (Faber and Faber)
Bad Ideas/Chemicals by Lloyd Markham (Parthian)
The Reactive by Masanda Ntshanga (Jacaranda)
The Trask shortlist is always very strong, very original, and this year is no different – six books reflecting the excellent quality and diversity of new writers today. We have Clare Fisher's touching, tough and incisive view of what it's like to be a child in care, robbed of choices; Eli Goldstone's fable-like tale that spirits the reader from London to the deep forests of Latvia; Lloyd Markham's death stare at society, sharp as a syringe and gloriously weird; Masande Ntshanga depiction of the gritty reality of Cape Town in 2003 through the smoky lens of the young and high; Omar Robert Hamilton's tough, bleak and relentless work – a challenging, heart-wrenching and in many ways, necessary novel; while Sarah Day presents a powerful but little-known historical narrative that needed to be told.
Judges Ben Brooks, Joanne Harris and Samantha Shannon.