Announcing The Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year Award shortlist

The British Council is partnering with the Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year Award for the sixth year.

The Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year Award is given annually to the best work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by a British or Irish author of 35 or under. Here at the British Council, we're proud to work with the Prize to support the selected writers early in their careers to make international professional connections and bring their work to readers around the globe. 

The 2023 shortlist of authors has been described as ‘immensely powerful’ by Chair of Judges Andrew Holgate, whilst the new Literary Editor of The Sunday Times, Johanna Thomas-Corr, praises the authors ‘who refuse to be bent into shape’.

The judges have chosen:

• Stockport-born author and screenwriter Tom Benn, for his poignantly rendered exploration of domesticity and violence in Oxblood, which was longlisted for The Gordon Burn Prize 2022

Lucy Burns, a debut writer from Manchester, for her intimate memoir, Larger than an Orange, which examined the dichotomy between abortion as a political statement and an individual experience, and was selected as one of The Sunday Times' Books of the Year 2021

• London-born debut novelist Maddie Mortimer for Maps of our Spectacular Bodies, a lyrical and captivating look at mortality, desire and forgiveness, which won the Desmond Elliott Prize 2022

• Oxford Fellow, Katherine Rundell, for the only non-fiction title on the shortlist and winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2021, Super-Infinite, an illuminating and complex portrait of England’s greatest love poet, John Donne.

This year’s judges are spearheaded by the former Literary Editor of The Sunday Times Andrew Holgate, who remains as Chair of Judges, and the new Sunday Times Literary Editor, Johanna Thomas-Corr who are joined by critic and journalist Stig Abell, poet Mona Arshi, author Oyinkan Braithwaite, and novelist and earlier winner of the prize, Francis Spufford

With Cal Flyn, Jay Bernard, Raymond Antrobus, Adam Weymouth, Sally Rooney, Max Porter and Sarah Howe as recent winners, the prize has spotted and supported an exceptional line-up of defining new voices since returning from a seven-year break in 2015, and its alumni list is a who’s who of the best British and Irish writing – from Robert Macfarlane to Zadie Smith, from Sarah Waters to Simon Armitage, from Naomi Alderman to Caryl Phillips and many others.

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