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Nero Awards Unveil Diverse Literary Talents

by | Nov 28, 2023 | News

 

Eleanor Catton, Lex Croucher, Tom Crewe and Fern Brady are among the authors shortlisted for the inaugural Nero Book Awards, which run across four categories: Children’s Fiction, Debut Fiction, Fiction and Non-Fiction.

Caffè Nero announced the new awards in May this year, less than a year after Costa abruptly scrapped their book prizes of 50 years standing. The winner of each category will be announced in January and will receive £5,000. The overall winner of the Nero Gold prize, announced in February, will be awarded an additional £30,000.

Twelve category judges – a mix of authors, booksellers and journalists – were tasked with choosing the best books of the year from writers based in the UK and Ireland. Caffè Nero is an independent, family-owned business. It has embraced many cultural and intellectual endeavours since its start in 1997, supporting outstanding new singer-songwriters, exceptional writers, quality designers and excellent photography. A not-for-profit organisation, the Awards celebrate the craft of great writing and the joy of reading, providing readers of all tastes with a combination of high-quality writing and readability.

The publishing industry has embraced the Awards since they were announced earlier in 2023. Over 100 publishers and imprints have submitted hundreds of books across the four categories to the judges. Judges include the novelist and screenwriter Sara Collins; the journalist, screenwriter and author Sarfraz Manzoor; and the novelists Anthony Quinn and Dave Rudden.

Murray, an Irish novelist, was shortlisted in the fiction category for his novel The Bee Sting – a comic family saga that is also shortlisted for this year’s Booker prize, the winner of which is announced on Sunday. Another Irish novelist, Megan Nolan, made the shortlist for her second novel, Ordinary Human Failings, about a family implicated in a crime.

Completing the fiction shortlist are Booker-winning author Eleanor Catton’s Birnam Wood and Karen Powell’s Fifteen Wild Decembers, a reimagining of the lives of the Brontë family.

Two Irish writers also feature on the debut fiction shortlist. One is Michael Magee’s Close to Home, which was also shortlisted for the Waterstones debut fiction prize. Chloe Michelle Howarth also makes the list for Sunburn, a coming-of-age novel set in 1990s Ireland.

London Review of Books contributing editor Tom Crewe joins the debut fiction shortlist for The New Life, his novel set against the backdrop of the Oscar Wilde trial, which also won the Orwell prize for political fiction. Alongside Crewe on the shortlist is Stephen Buoro with The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa. The non-fiction shortlist is made up of four books by women, including comedian Fern Brady’s memoir Strong Female Character and The Tidal Year by Freya Bromley, a memoir about grief and the healing power of swimming.

The children’s fiction shortlist includes social media personality Lex Croucher with their first YA book, Gwen and Art Are Not in Love.

The judges were asked to choose which reads they would most want to recommend to others.

CHILDREN’S FICTION AWARD SHORTLIST (listed alphabetically by author surname)

Gwen and Art Are Not in Love by Lex Croucher (Bloomsbury YA)

Bitterthorn by Kat Dunn (Andersen Press)

Wild Song by Candy Gourlay (David Fickling)

The Swifts by Beth Lincoln (Puffin). Illustrated by Claire Powell

DEBUT FICTION AWARD SHORTLIST

 

The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa by Stephen Buoro (Bloomsbury Circus)

The New Life by Tom Crewe (Chatto & Windus)

Sunburn by Chloe Michelle Howarth (VERVE Books)

Close To Home by Michael Magee (Hamish Hamilton)

FICTION AWARD SHORTLIST

Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton (Granta)

The Bee Sting by Paul Murray (Hamish Hamilton)

Ordinary Human Failings by Megan Nolan (Jonathan Cape)

Fifteen Wild Decembers by Karen Powell (Europa Editions)

NON-FICTION AWARD SHORTLIST

Strong Female Character by Fern Brady (Brazen)

The Tidal Year by Freya Bromley (Coronet)

Undercurrent by Natasha Carthew (Coronet)

Hags by Victoria Smith (Fleet)

A winning title from each of the four categories will be announced on 16th January 2024 and, of those, one book will be selected as the overall winner – The Nero Gold Prize – by a final panel of judges and announced at a ceremony in late February 2024.

 

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