THE NOVEL PRIZE

Fitzcarraldo Editions, Giramondo and New Directions are pleased to announce the shortlist for The Novel Prize, a biennial award for a book-length work of literary fiction written in English by published and unpublished writers around the world.

The shortlist, selected from nearly 700 entries worldwide, is as follows:  

– Jonathan Buckley’s Tell, a novel in two parts that forms a complex examination of biography as an art form, and the slipperiness of representation. The first part is presented as a series of interview transcripts with a woman who worked as a gardener for a wealthy businessman and art collector, who has disappeared, and may or may not have committed suicide. One of the principal characters in this monologue is a journalist whose first (unpublished) book was a fictionalised biography of a Viennese woman whom she befriended in the last years of this woman’s very long life, and whose work is in the businessman’s collection. The second part is a monologue consisting of a sequence of short texts written by this woman, who is extrapolating her story from a collection of photographs that date back to the interwar years. This reconstituted life differs in certain crucial respects from the biography created by the journalist, raising questions about the difficulty, or impossibility, of accurately capturing a life through writing. Jonathan Buckley is a writer, editor and teacher from the West Midlands, now living in Brighton. Since 2003 he has been a Fellow and an Advisory Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund. In 2015 he won the BBC National Short Story Award for ‘Briar Road’. He regularly contributes to publications including the Times Literary SupplementTell is his twelfth novel.

– Darcie Dennigan’s Forever Valley, a novel narrated by an unnamed orphan left by a grave as a child and taken in by the cemetery's groundskeeper. One summer, between childhood and adulthood, she becomes possessed by the sometimes hideously erotic tendrils of flowers she is tending and is sent away to live with a pair of sisters who are the town’s tombstone carvers. This ambitious and imaginative novel is part revenge fantasy, part ghost story and part bildungsroman. Darcie Dennigan is a poet and writer who lives in Providence, RI where she directs the Spatulate Church Emergency Shift, a poets’ theatre collective.

– Marie Doezema’s Aurora Australis. Ghislaine is a French-American scientist working at a remote base in Antarctica. During her nine months on base, she struggles with the daily challenges of living in a perpetually dark and sub-freezing environment, but her real conflict comes in the form of memories and dreams. She reflects on the early loss of her mother, the loneliness of growing up as an orphan on a farm in Normandy, and her eventual move to the United States for school and work. After an initially promising career at a prominent East Coast university is thwarted by the predatory behaviour of her boss, she moves to a remote birding station in South America, where for the first time she opens her heart to someone else. Now, in the quietude of Antarctica, Ghislaine reckons with the trauma and beauty of her life. Aurora Australis is a deeply moving meditation on mothering, loss and climate change, streaked with joy like the lights of its namesake. Marie Doezema lives in Paris. Her journalism has appeared in publications including the New YorkerThe Atlantic, and the New York Times. She currently works at Columbia University’s Global Center in Paris. Aurora Australis is her first novel.

– Florina Enache’s Palimpsest, a novel set in a country oppressed by a totalitarian regime, depicts the days leading up to the mass celebration of the National Day, in which citizens are ordered to the capital city to take part in the great spectacle. Told in three female voices, the novel plays witness to fear, uncertainty and brutality, but also to generosity and friendship. Florina Enache’s debut collection of stories An-Tan-Tiri Mogodan was shortlisted in the 2020 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award for new writing. She was born and raised in Romania, where she studied English language and literature and worked as a translator, and in 2005 she emigrated to Australia.

– Vijay Khurana’s The Passenger Seat, a novel set in an unnamed part of North America. The Passenger Seat charts two relationships – the first between two young men, Teddy and Alvin, who embark on a road trip and whose increasingly unsettling power dynamic leads to tragedy, and the second between two older men, Ron and Freeman, whose connection to the younger men unravels in a moving exploration of mutual responsibility. The two narratives diverge and reconnect, setting the stage for a poignant examination of male friendship, homosocial desire, and the trappings and broader social implications of masculinity. Vijay Khurana is a writer and translator based in Berlin. His short fiction has been published in NOON, the Guardian and 3:AM, and shortlisted for prizes including the Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize, the Cúirt New Writing Prize and the Bristol Short Story Prize. Khurana’s story ‘The Menaced Assassin’ won the 2021 Griffith Review Emerging Voices Competition. His children’s chapter book, Regal Beagle, was published in 2014. The Passenger Seat is his first novel.

– Anne de Marcken’s It Lasts Forever And Then It’s Over, a spare, funny, haunting and luminous novel that asks how much of your memory, of your body, of the world as you know it – how much of what you love can you lose before you are lost? And then what happens? The protagonist is adrift in a familiar future: she has forgotten her name and much of what connects her to her humanity. But she remembers the place where she knew herself and was known, and she is determined to get back there at any cost. She travels across the landscapes of time, encountering and losing parts of her body and her self in one terrifying, hilarious, heartbreaking situation after another. Anne de Marcken is a queer interdisciplinary artist and writer living on unceded land of the Coast Salish people in Olympia, WA.

– Valer Popa’s Moon Over Bucharest, charting Romania’s volatile history through the latter half of the twentieth century. Twenty-four years after the fall of Ceausescu’s dictatorship, a feckless young accountant in Bucharest becomes fascinated by Mrs. Irina Enescu, a reclusive upstairs neighbour. As the accountant’s life begins to disintegrate, he retreats into his imagination, envisioning her life through the Second World War, shaped by the country’s political troubles. Valer Popa was born in Bucharest, Romania. A graduate of Cornell University's MFA program in fiction, he now teaches creative writing and lives in Chicago with his family. 

– Sola Saar’s Anonymity Is Life, a dark comedy about an eccentric family. It follows Vera, a sardonic young writer and her sister Katrina, a neurologically atypical budding philosopher. As Vera navigates young adulthood, depression, and a bad economy, the novel explores the concept of drawing from one’s own life experiences and simultaneously attempting to write from a place of deep anonymity. Sola Saar is a writer and artist based in Los Angeles, who received an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University and a BA from UC Berkeley.

The Novel Prize offers $10,000 to the winner in the form of an advance against royalties, and simultaneous publication of their novel 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 judges are looking for novels which explore and expand the possibilities of the form, and are innovative and imaginative in style.

Jessica Au won the inaugural Novel Prize in 2020 for Cold Enough for Snow. The novel, selected from over 1500 entries worldwide, was published in English in February 2022 and is set to be published in 18 territories. The other shortlisted entries were Glenn Diaz’s Yñiga, Emily Hall’s The Longcut, Christine Lai’s Landscapes, Nora Lange’s Us Fools and Lani Yamamoto’s Ours and Others’.

The Novel Prize is managed by the three publishers working in collaboration. Submissions were open from 1 April to 1 July 2022, 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 2023, and published in early 2024.

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 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 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. 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

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 info@fitzcarraldoeditions.com. 

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 thenovelprize.com.  

2) Entrants residing in Africa and Europe should submit a full manuscript of their novel (minimum 30,000 words) to novelprize@fitzcarraldoeditions.com. 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, A103, 8-12 Creekside, London SE8 3DX. 

6) Only submissions received by email or by post by midnight on 1 June 2022 (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 manuscript 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 will be announced in January 2023. The winner will be announced in February 2023, and published in early 2024. 

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.