Alan Hollinghurst to chair Desmond Elliott judging panel

News - Prizes Friday, 18 January 2019

Coup for prize for debut novelists as Booker-winning author leads judging panel for this year's award: Meryl Halls (BA) and Robbie Millen (Times) complete strong line-up

Alan Hollinghust, who won the Man Booker with The Line of Beauty in 2004, is to chair the judging panel for the 2019 Desmond Elliott Prize. Alongside him on the panel will be BA md Meryl Halls, and literary editor of The Times, Robbie Millen.

The £10,000 prize is for the best debut novel of the last 12 months.

Hollinghurst said: "I’m really delighted to have been asked to chair the judging panel for the 2019 Desmond Elliott Prize. It’s a prize that rewards the courage as well as the skill of new writers — the ones who will go on to shape the reading landscape of the future. As a judge, I know only to expect the unexpected, those surprises of story, voice and viewpoint with which a first novelist can suddenly enlarge our sense of what the novel — that wonderful, inexhaustible form — is capable of. It will be a fascinating experience."

The prize is building a track record of finding gifted novelists at the very beginning of their careers, with past winners including Francis Spufford, Lisa McInerney and Eimear McBride.

Chair of Trustees for the Prize, Dallas Manderson, said: "The Desmond Elliott Prize has a long history of outstanding judging panels and in 2019 we once again welcome a panel of judges who are leaders in their respective fields. It is an important task that lays before them, but I have no doubt that they will do a tremendous job and look forward to discovering the novel they choose to be this year’s winner."

A longlist of 10 novels will be announced in April and a shortlist in May. The winner will be revealed at a ceremony at the long-established venue of Fortnum & Mason on 19 June.

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