Posted by: Lisa Hill | April 9, 2019

Kiwi author on the 2019 Rathbones Folio Prize shortlist

I don’t usually pay much attention to the UK Rathbones Folio Prize: it was launched in 2014 as a (let’s be honest) more highbrow alternative to the Booker, but although it was in its initial phase definitely a prize for literary fiction I’ve never been very excited about it.  Since 2017 the prize has branched out to include any form of writing, fiction, non-fiction or poetry, which is how it comes about that a collection of essays by New Zealand author Ashleigh Young has been shortlisted for the 2019 prize.

Thanks to a tweet from Readings, here is the shortlist (links on titles are to Readings Bookshop):

The prize is worth £30,000.  Nominations are made by an ‘academy’ of great writers which includes Margaret Atwood, A S Byatt, Zadie Smith and Australians Peter Carey and J M Coetzee.  The winner will be announced on May 20th.

According to Wikipedia, the other 2019 nominations were:

  • Ann Wroe, Francis: A Life in Songs
  • Bob Gilbert, Ghost Trees
  • Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, House of Stone, see my review
  • Sue Prideaux, I Am Dynamite!: A Life of Freidrich Nietzsche
  • Georgina Harding, Land of the Living, on my TBR
  • Nancy Campbell, The Library of Ice
  • Edward Carey, Little
  • Chris Power, Mothers
  • Will Eaves, Murmur
  • Sally Rooney, Normal People
  • Mohammed Hanif, Red Birds
  • Zaffar Kunial, Us


  1. I got invited to the shortlist announcement for this prize but couldn’t go because of other commitments but even so, like you, I can’t summon much enthusiasm for this prize. I think it might be because it lacks a proper USP. I know it’s chosen by an academy of writers but in the grand scheme of things it’s all a bit dull. I wish someone would launch something for mid-career writers to reward the hard slog of getting the first couple of novels out of the way and helping to encourage those just about to hit their stride.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Any prize is good, but yes, a prize for mid career authors would be a great initiative.

      Liked by 1 person

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