In this week’s Books Podcast, we’re turning our eye on an area of literary endeavour that is too often neglected: the first novel. Dozens are published every month; few are ever noticed. The late literary agent Desmond Elliott founded a prize to ensure that more of them were — and that the best would be publicly celebrated.
Ahead of next week’s Desmond Elliott Prize announcement on Wednesday 21st, then, I talk to each of the three writers on this year’s shortlist:
Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is the author of the moving and artful story of a Japanese-American girl’s growth into a woman and an artist, Harmless Like You; Kit De Waal is the author of My Name Is Leon, the piercing tale of a mixed-race boy struggling through the fostering system in 1980s London; and finally Francis Spufford, whose Golden Hill is a picaresque romp through the New York of the mid-18th-century.
Three very different books; three hugely talented authors. I hope you’ll spare the time to join me.
And do subscribe to the Spectator Books podcast on iTunes for a new episode every Thursday.