Photo credit: Nigel Davies
Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year Award marks the 30th anniversary with one of it's most decorated shortlists to date:
• Irish novelist Megan Nolan for her darkly funny debut novel Acts of Desperation;
• US-based writer Anna Beecher for her novel about love, life and loss Here Comes the Miracle;
• Cal Flyn, an author and journalist from the Highlands of Scotland, for her eerie yet ultimately optimistic account of ecological diversity, Islands of Abandonment;
• Londoner Rachel Long for her debut poetry collection, My Darling from the Lions; and
• British-Ghanian author Caleb Azumah Nelson for his first novel, Open Water, set in South East London.
This year’s judges – novelist, short story writer and academic Sarah Moss; novelist and essayist Andrew O’Hagan; award-winning author and columnist Tahmima Anam; critic Claire Lowdon; writer and creative writing teacher Gonzalo C. Garcia, chaired by Sunday Times Literary Editor Andrew Holgate – shortlisted five instead of the usual four authors, echoing the decision made by the 2020 judges.
In addition to the prize money, which this year has been doubled to £10,000 (with the shortlistees receiving £1,000 – doubled from previous years), the winner will be offered a bespoke 10-week residency by the University of Warwick. The London Library – which returns as the host of the ceremony following last year’s digital edition – adds two years’ membership to the attractive winner package, as well as a year’s membership for the shortlist. All shortlisted authors will be championed overseas by prize partner the British Council.
The 2021 winner will be announced in a ceremony at the London Library on 24 February 2022.