Blogmas 2020 Other

The Young Writer Award 2020

Welcome to day 21 of blogmas! As always the post from yesterday is linked at the bottom of the page and you can search Blogmas 2020 on my blog and you’ll get the whole list of posts. 

Today I’m going to talk about The Young Writer Award 2020. This is just something I found out about this year but it’s just something that really interested me. Authors under the age of 25 can submit a body of work for the chance to win £5000. Not all of them were novels, some poetry and even non-fiction. The winner was just announced and I thought now was a good time to go through the finalists and talk about the winner. 

Finalists

Nightingale

by Marina Kemp

This one has really interested me. I love the idea of small villages with new people coming in to mix things up, It can really be an interesting dynamic. I also think Jerme Lanvier will turn out to be an interesting Character. 

Marguerite Demers is twenty-four when she leaves Paris for the sleepy southern village of Saint-Sulpice, to take up a job as a live-in nurse. Her charge is Jerome Lanvier, once one of the most powerful men in the village, and now dying alone in his large and secluded house, surrounded by rambling gardens. Manipulative and tyrannical, Jerome has scared away all his previous nurses. It’s not long before the villagers have formed opinions of Marguerite. Brigitte Brochon, pillar of the community and local busybody, finds her arrogant and mysterious and is desperate to find a reason to have her fired. Glamorous outsider Suki Lacourse sees Marguerite as an ally in a sea of small-minded provincialism. Local farmer Henri Brochon, husband of Brigitte, feels concern for her and wants to protect her from the villagers’ intrusive gossip and speculation – but Henri has a secret of his own that would intrigue and disturb his neighbours just as much as the truth about Marguerite, if only they knew…

Tongues of Fire

by Sean Hewitt

I think it’s hard to say if you’ll like a poetry book or not from the synopsis but I am interested to check it out!

In this collection, Seán Hewitt gives us poems of a rare musicality and grace. By turns searing and meditative, these are lyrics concerned with the matter of the world, its physicality, but also attuned to the proximity of each moment, each thing, to the spiritual. Here, there is sex, grief, and loss, but also a committed dedication to life, hope and renewal. Drawing on the religious, the sacred and the profane, this is a collection in which men meet in the woods, where matter is corrupted and remade. There are prayers, hymns, vespers, incantations, and longer poems which attempt to propel themselves towards the transcendent.

Exciting Times

by Naoise Dolan

Hmm, this one is interesting. I don’t like adult romance but I do have a soft spot for YA romance, that being said this is adult romance and it’s 100% something that interests me. The reviews aren’t great but it’s a short book I’m willing to give a try!

Ava moved to Hong Kong to find happiness, but so far, it isn’t working out. Since she left Dublin, she’s been spending her days teaching English to rich children—she’s been assigned the grammar classes because she lacks warmth—and her nights avoiding petulant roommates in her cramped apartment. When Ava befriends Julian, a witty British banker, he offers a shortcut into a lavish life her meager salary could never allow. Ignoring her feminist leanings and her better instincts, Ava finds herself moving into Julian’s apartment, letting him buy her clothes, and, eventually, striking up a sexual relationship with him. When Julian’s job takes him back to London, she stays put, unsure where their relationship stands. Enter Edith. A Hong Kong–born lawyer, striking and ambitious, Edith takes Ava to the theater and leaves her tulips in the hallway. Ava wants to be her—and wants her. Ava has been carefully pretending that Julian is nothing more than an absentee roommate, so when Julian announces that he’s returning to Hong Kong, she faces a fork in the road. Should she return to the easy compatibility of her life with Julian or take a leap into the unknown with Edith?

Inferno: A Memoir of Motherhood and Madness

by Catherine Cho

This is a really interesting book and story, something I know I’ll 100% check out. Obviously I always find it hard to comment on a memoir, this is someone’s story, but it does sound good. 

When Catherine Cho and her husband set off from London to introduce their newborn son to family scattered across the United States, she could not have imagined what lay in store. Before the trip’s end, she develops psychosis. In desperation, her husband admits her to a nearby psychiatric hospital, where she begins the hard work of rebuilding her identity. In this memoir Catherine reconstructs her sense of self, starting with her childhood as the daughter of Korean immigrants, moving through a traumatic past relationship, and on to the early years of her courtship with and marriage to her husband, James. She interweaves these parts of her past with an immediate recounting of the days she spent in the ward. 

Winner

Surge

by Jay Bernard

I haven’t read this book though it does seem to be one of the more interesting books on this list. I think the concept behind the book is something really important and I’m interested to see how Bernard approaches this. 

Jay Bernard’s extraordinary debut is a fearlessly original exploration of the black British archive: an inquiry into the New Cross Fire of 1981, a house fire at a birthday party in south London in which thirteen young black people were killed. Dubbed the ‘New Cross Massacre’, the fire was initially believed to be a racist attack, and the indifference with which the tragedy was met by the state triggered a new era of race relations in Britain. Tracing a line from New Cross to the ‘towers of blood’ of the Grenfell fire, this urgent collection speaks with, in and of the voices of the past, brought back by the incantation of dancehall rhythms and the music of Jamaican patois, to form a living presence in the absence of justice. A ground-breaking work of excavation, memory and activism – both political and personal, witness and documentary – Surge shines a much-needed light on an unacknowledged chapter in British history, one that powerfully resonates in our present moment. 


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