Guy Gunaratne wins The Best First Novel Award

Best First Novel Award

Guy Gunaratne wins Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award
The Authors’ Club is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2019 Best First Novel Award is Guy Gunaratne’s In Our Mad and Furious City (Tinder Press).
The guest adjudicator, Louise Doughty, presented the £2,500 award at a reception at the National Liberal Club in London on 22 May. She said:
“Guy Gunaratne’s In Our Mad and Furious City is an extraordinary act of ventriloquism: five very different narrative voices tell of their lives on the Stones Estate during an inner-city summer of tension and violence, and the lives of these characters burst from the page in a work of stunning originality and pace that heralds a terrific literary career to come.”
Louise Doughty and Lucy Popescu
Doughty faced the challenging task of selecting a winner from a stunning shortlist that also included:
  • The Cactus, Sarah Haywood (Two Roads)
  • Silence Under a StoneNorma MacMaster (Doubleday)
  • The Sealwoman’s Gift, Sally Magnusson (Two Roads)
  • As the Women Lay Dreaming, Donald Murray (Saraband)
  • TestamentKim Sherwood (Riverrun)
The prize is for the debut novel of a British, Irish or UK-based author, first published in the UK, and there is no age limit. The winning novel is selected by a guest adjudicator from a shortlist drawn up by a panel of Authors’ Club members, chaired by Lucy Popescu.
The Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award
Inaugurated in 1954, the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award is now in its 65th year, making it the longest-running UK prize for debut fiction and – except for the James Tait Black, the Hawthornden and the Somerset Maugham – the oldest literary prize in England.
Past winners have included Brian Moore, Alan Sillitoe, Paul Bailey, Gilbert Adair, Nadeem Aslam, Diran Adebayo, Jackie Kay, Susan Fletcher, Nicola Monaghan, Laura Beatty, Anthony Quinn, Jonathan Kemp, Kevin Barry, Ros Barber, Carys Bray, Benjamin Johncock and Rowan Hisayo Buchanan. Last year’s prize was awarded to Gail Honeyman.