Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014

20th Jun 2014

Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014
Each year, the Jerwood Uncovered Fiction Prize rewards eight writers for their outstanding works of fiction. This year, not only is the list split a perfect 50:50 between genders, but some of FBS favourites can be found

Evie Wyld is having a pretty spectacular week. Yesterday, we reported that the Australia-born novelist was the recipient of 2013’s Encore Award for All the Birds, Singing.

Now, the same novel has been selected by the Jerwood Uncovered panel for a £5000 share of the £40,000 prize fund. Wyld’s debut After the Fire, a Still Small Voice won the John Lewellyn Rhys Prize and a Betty Trask Award. She also made it on to Granta’s list of the Best of Young British Novelists 2013 and she’s only 34. The girl’s good.

Judge, Arifa Akbar agrees: She excels at creating character, a sense of place and a thrilling tension, infusing every page with a depth of feeling along the way. For a novelist as young as Wyld to display such emotional maturing is extraordinary”

She is joined by Bernadine Evaristo, whose latest novel Mr Loverman earned her a spot. Her central protagonist is Barrington Jedidiah Walker, a 74-year old snappy dresser, contemplating finally confronting his sexuality.

Judge, Julia Wharton said of Mr Loverman, “In Evaristo’s hands he is a funky, feisty, hugely adorable man – she takes a difficult subject and imbues it with wit, passion and honesty. I loved it and I’d marry him… if only he would have me…”

Another Betty Trask recipient, Lesley Glaister was awarded for her novel Little Egypt, in which twins Isis and Osiris guard a dark secret in their eponymously named childhood home in North England.

Sam Jordison explained that “what most lingers afterwards is tragedy: the dignified pain of the narrator and her extraordinary truce with fate.”

Naomi Wood‘s Mrs Hemingway completes the set. Built on extensive research, this novel grew from Wood’s imaginings of life as one of the four beleaguered wives of one of the most lauded writers of his generation.

Her sentences are as smooth and pleasurable as a well-made daiquiri Chair, Matt Haig said, “Wood’s skill here is in weaving quite a lot of factual biography in without it ever weighing it down, and that takes real skill and confidence. Her sentences are as smooth and pleasurable as a well-made daiquiri making it a joy to read.”

Launched in 2011, the award is an Arts Council funded prize that goes beyond a cash-fall. All the recipients will receive support in promoting their books for the next year.

Congratulations to all eight winners.