Fitzcarraldo Editions, Giramondo and New Directions are thrilled to announce that Jessica Au has been awarded the 2020 Novel Prize for Cold Enough for Snow.

The Novel Prize is a new, biennial award for a book-length work of literary fiction written in English by published and unpublished writers around the world. It offers $10,000 to the winner and simultaneous publication in the UK and Ireland by the London-based Fitzcarraldo Editions, in Australia and New Zealand by Sydney publisher Giramondo, and in North America by New York’s New Directions. The prize rewards novels which explore and expand the possibilities of the form, and are innovative and imaginative in style. Cold Enough for Snow, the inaugural winner, was selected from close to 1500 submissions worldwide, and will be published in early 2022.

A daughter and a mother travel to Tokyo in autumn. They walk the canals at night, escape the typhoon rains, share meals in small cafes and restaurants, and visit the galleries to see some of the city’s most enigmatic modern art. All the while, they talk: of the weather, of horoscopes, of clothes and objects, of family, distance and memory. But who is really speaking here, and what is the real reason behind this elliptical journey? Cold Enough for Snow is at once a careful reckoning and an elegy, one that questions whether any of us speak a common language, and what right we have to truly know another’s inner world.

Jessica Au is a writer based in Melbourne. Her first novel Cargo (2011) was published by Picador and was highly commended in the Kathleen Mitchell Award for a writer under 30. She is the former deputy editor of Meanjin, and is currently an associate editor at Aeon. Cold Enough for Snow is her second novel.

The other shortlisted titles are:

– Glenn Diaz’s Yñiga, a novel in which a former university teacher’s life is upended when an army general wanted for the murder of activists and peasants goes into hiding in her Manila neighborhood. Glenn Diaz’s first book The Quiet Ones (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2017) won the Palanca Grand Prize, the Madrigal-Gonzalez First Book Award, and the Philippine National Book Award. Born and raised in Manila, he is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Adelaide in South Australia.

– Emily Hall’s The Longcut, a novel in the first person about the place of art and the artist in the world, asking how, in a time when art can be about anything and made of anything, do you figure out what your work is. Emily Hall is an editor at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. She has been a contributor to Artforum since 2003 and before that was the full-time art critic at The Stranger. She has also written for Dwell and the New York Times Book Review. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and lives in New York, where she was born and raised.

– Christine Lai’s Landscapes, set in both contemporary England and in a near future fraught with ecological devastation and geopolitical upheaval, explores the work of remembering and the possibility of repair. Christine Lai is a Chinese-Canadian writer, based in Vancouver. She holds a PhD in English Literature from University College London, and an MPhil from the University of Cambridge.

– Nora Lange’s Us Fools, a tragicomic family drama narrated over two decades by two precocious sisters, beginning with the Midwestern farm crisis in the 1980s, and ambitiously layering in our collective preoccupations and obsessions in their search for a better future. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in BOMB, The Believer, Joyland, American Short Fiction, Denver Quarterly, The Fairy Tale Review, Hobart, The Morning News, Juked, LIT, HTMLGIANT, The Hairpin, Two Serious Ladies and elsewhere. Her project Dailyness was longlisted for the 2014 Leslie Scalapino Award for Innovative Women Performance Writers. She received an MFA from Brown University's Literary Arts Program, where she was a Kaplan Fellow.

– Lani Yamamoto’s Ours and Others’, a metaphysical mystery of sorts in two parts. In the first, the child of a fallen cult leader tracks an escaped sibling through an endless forest; in the second, the amnesic narrator wakes in a strange, desolate land, and tries to piece together the past. Lani Yamamoto has written and illustrated six children’s books, published in fourteen languages. Her work has been nominated for the Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize, the Icelandic Literary Prize for Children’s and YA Books, the Reykjavík Children’s Book Prize, and the Italian Scelte di Classe Award. Originally from the US, she has lived in Iceland for twenty-five years.

The Novel Prize is managed by the three publishers working in collaboration. Submissions were open from 1 April to 1 July 2020, with Fitzcarraldo Editions reading submissions from Africa and Europe, Giramondo from Asia and Australasia, and New Directions from the Americas. The winner will be announced in February 2021, and published in early 2022. 

Prior to launching The Novel Prize, Fitzcarraldo Editions ran an annual novel prize for authors resident in the UK and Ireland. Adam Mars-Jones was awarded 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. The winning novel was one of 321 submissions, and one of five to be shortlisted. The four other shortlisted entries were Line by Niall Bourke, Zealandia by David Hering, Breath by Amanda Oosthuizen, and Quinn by Em Strang. 

Jeremy Cooper won the inaugural Fitzcarraldo Editions Novel Prize in 2018 for Ash before Oak, a novel in the form of a nature diary, obliquely charting the narrator’s slow return to health. The winning novel was one of 181 submissions, and one of six to be shortlisted. The five other shortlisted entries were Semblance by Thomas Bunstead, The Cremation Project by Andrea Mason, Tinder and the Moon by Marianne Morris, Total Abstraction by David Musgrave, and Never Connect by Duncan White. 


Please read these eligibility and entry rules carefully before submitting. Submission of an entry is taken as acceptance of the entry rules. For any queries not covered below, please 

1) The competition is open to published and unpublished writers around the world. Writers based in Africa and Europe should submit to Fitzcarraldo Editions. Writers based in the Americas should submit via New Directions; writers based in Asia and Australasia should submit to Giramondo. For more information please visit  

2) Entrants residing in Africa and Europe should submit a full manuscript of their novel (minimum 30,000 words) to The manuscript should be double-spaced, 12pt. 

3) Each submission should include a cover letter including a biographical note, contact details and brief outline of the novel. 

4) The submission must be original.  

5) Entries can also be sent by post to Fitzcarraldo Editions, A104, 8-12 Creekside, London SE8 3DX. 

6) Only submissions received by email or by post by midnight on 1 July 2020 (GMT) will be considered. 

7) Entries that are incomplete, corrupted or submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

8) The entry must be the entrant’s own original creation and must not infringe upon the right or copyright of any person or entity.

9) Co-authored entries will not be accepted. 

10) Writers who have existing contracts, or who have previously held contracts, with publishers for books of fiction or non-fiction are eligible to enter. 

11) Writers who have published writing (fiction or non-fiction) in magazines and journals are eligible to enter.

12) Writers who have published books of poetry are eligible to enter.

13) Writers may submit only one proposal per iteration of the prize. 

14) The novel must be written in English (no translations).

15) Submissions may be made by the author of the novel or (if they have one) their agent.

16) There are no age restrictions, and we welcome submissions from writers of all backgrounds. 

17) Submissions from writers residing outside of Africa or Europe will not be considered or passed on to the relevant publishers.

18) All submissions should include page numbers.

19) The novel must be original and should not have been previously published anywhere in full. Published work is taken to mean published in any printed, publicly accessible form, e.g. anthology, magazine, newspaper. It is also taken to mean published online, with the exception of personal blogs and personal websites.

20) A shortlist of up to six novels will be announced in December 2020. The winner will be announced in February 2021, and published in early 2022. 

21) Fitzcarraldo Editions, Giramondo and New Directions reserve the right to organise a meeting or phone call with all shortlisted writers to discuss their novel before the award of the prize. 

22) Unsuccessful entrants will not be contacted.

23) No editorial feedback will be provided to unsuccessful entrants.

24) The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding the judging process.

25) Fitzcarraldo Editions, Giramono and New Directions will have the exclusive world rights to publish the winning novel.

26)  Fitzcarraldo Editions, Giramono and New Directions reserve the right not to award the prize this year, or to make multiple offers of publication. 

27) Only submissions which meet all Terms and Conditions will be considered.

28) By entering this competition, each entrant agrees to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.