Adam Mars-Jones Wins the 2019 Fitzcarraldo Editions Novel Prize


We’re delighted to announce that Adam Mars-Jones has won the 2019 Fitzcarraldo Editions Novel Prize for Box Hill, a strangely tragic love story between two men set in the gay biker community during the late 1970s. Initially made possible by an Arts Council grant in 2017, the prize looks for novels which explore and expand the possibilities of the form, which are innovative and imaginative in style, which tackle subjects and themes relevant to the world we live in. Adam Mars-Jones receives a £3,000 prize in the form of an advance against publication, and Box Hill will be published in Fitzcarraldo Editions’ fiction list in March 2020. 

Adam Mars-Jones’ first collection of stories, Lantern Lecture, won a Somerset Maugham Award in 1982, His debut novel, Pilcrow, was published in 2008 by Faber & Faber. His second novel, Cedilla, was also published by Faber & Faber in 2011. His essay, Noriko Smiling (Notting Hill Editions, 2011), focuses on Yasujiro Ozu, a master of Japanese cinema. His memoir, Kid Gloves, was published by Particular Books in August 2015. His selected film writing, Second Sight, was published by Reaktion Books in September 2019. He writes book reviews for the Observer and the LRB.

In 2019, we received 321 submissions for the prize. The other shortlisted novels are: 

– Line by Niall Bourke, a work of speculative fiction set in a world in which Willard, the main character, has spent his entire life in an endless queue, where obedience to the rules is the only way to ensure survival. Niall Bourke’s short stories have been shortlisted for numerous awards including the Costa Short Story Award, the Hennessey New Irish Writing Award and the ASOL Tom-Gallon Trust Award. His debut poetry collection, Did You Put the Weasels Out? was published by Eyewear in 2018. Originally from County Kilkenny, he lives in London, where he teaches English. 

– Zealandia by David Hering, a novel about the Zanda Institute, a corporation that has harnessed the ability to revive animals that have become extinct. David Hering is a Lecturer in Contemporary Literature at the University of Liverpool, where he is co-director of the Centre for New and International Writing. Recent work appears in the Los Angeles Review of Books and The Quietus on subjects ranging from contemporary poetry to the televisual flaneur. His book David Foster Wallace: Fiction and Form was published by Bloomsbury in 2016.

– Breath by Amanda Oosthuizen, a novel about Jan, an ageing trumpet virtuoso, and her stalker, who follows her as she tours across Europe. Amanda Oosthuizen’s previous novel, The Cherrywood Box, was highly commended in the Yeovil Literary Prize, awarded an SLS fellowship and won the Eludia Award for and entire manuscript, and remains unpublished. Her stories and poetry have been shown in galleries, in Winchester cathedral, on the London Underground, and published in publications including Queen Mob’s TeahouseInk Sweat and TearsUnder the Radar3:AM and Ambit. She is a professional musician and earns a living by writing and arranging music and teaching woodwind.

– Quinn by Em Strang, a novel about a man serving a prison sentence for an unexplained act of violence against his girlfriend. Em Strang is a poet, workshop facilitator, and Reader with Open Book. Over the past decade, she has taught Creative Writing in public workshop settings, schools, universities and prisons, and continues to perform her poetry at venues across the UK. Her first collection, Bird-Woman, was published by Shearsman in 2016. In 2017, Bird-Woman was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Best First Collection Prize, and won the Saltire Poetry Book of the Year. Her second collection, Horse-Man, came out with Shearsman in September 2019.