Entertainment & Arts

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton up for £10,000 Desmond Elliott book prize

Jessie Burton and her debut novel Image copyright Getty Images/Picador
Image caption Burton wrote her book over four years while working as an actress and PA

The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton's award-winning bestseller, is one of 10 titles in contention for a £10,000 prize for debut novelists.

Another best-selling title, Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, has also made it on to the longlist for this year's Desmond Elliott Prize.

Also in contention is The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth, the first crowd-funded title to feature on the longlist.

A shortlist will be revealed on 15 May, with the winner announced on 1 July.

The Miniaturist tells of a young bride in 17th Century Amsterdam whose miniature replica of her own house begins to mirror events in her own life.

Burton's debut was named Waterstones Book of the Year in December and went on to be crowned Specsavers Book of the Year later that month.

Healey won the Costa first novel award for Elizabeth is Missing, a mystery about an elderly sleuth struggling with dementia.

The book is also on the longlist for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, as is Laline Paull's The Bees, another Desmond Elliott hopeful.

Image copyright Unbound
Image caption Kingsnorth calls The Wake "a slightly strange beast... written entirely in its own language"

Kingsnorth's Booker-longlisted novel is another nominee to have enjoyed awards success elsewhere, having won the £5,000 Gordon Burn Prize in October.

The book, set in the Anglo-Saxon period, was published after 400 readers pledged money to a crowdfunding campaign.

Named after the late publisher and literary agent, the Desmond Elliott Prize was first presented in 2008 and is now in its eighth year.

Dallas Manderson, chairman of its trustees, said it had been "a remarkable 12 months for debut fiction, both in terms of sales and literary achievement."

The full longlist is as follows:

  • The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah
  • The Bees by Laline Paull
  • Chop Chop by Simon Wroe
  • Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
  • Glass by Alex Christofi
  • The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
  • Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
  • Randall by Jonathan Gibbs
  • A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray
  • The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth

Previous winners include Ros Barber's The Marlowe Papers and last year's recipient, Eimear McBride's A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing.

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