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Guardian First Book Award

2009 | 2008 Winner |2008 Shortlist |2008 Longlist |Winners 1999 to 2007 | top

Established in 1965 as the Guardian First Book Award by The Guardian newspaper, the prize is worth £10,000 to the winner. In 1965 the prize money was 200 guineas (£210) and was awarded to a work of fiction by British or Commonwealth writer and published in the UK. The shortlist is announced in November each year and the winner in December.

The Guardian's first book award was established in 1999 to reward the finest new literary talent with a £10,000 prize for an author's first book. The award is open to writing across all genres. It is unique among book awards as debut works of fiction are judged alongside those of non-fiction.

The £10,000 prize, which covers fiction, non-fiction and poetry published in the UK, was voted for in 2008 by a panel of judges, with input from Waterstone's reading groups. Groups from Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Bath, Oxford and London, and one based online. Their combined voting power was greater than that of the panel of four judges.

2009 Winner

An Elegy for Easterly

An Elegy for Easterly, (link to Fishpond) by Petina Gappah, Faber (short story) - Describes the lives of people in Zimbabwe caught up in a sbuy_from_fishpondituation over which they have no control, as they deal with spiralling inflation, power cuts and financial hardship, and cope with issues common to all people everywhere; failed promises, disappointments and unfulfilled dreams.

Petina Gappah is the voice of Zimbabwe. In this astonishingly powerful debut collection, she dissects with real poignancy the lives of people caught up in a situation over which they have no control, as they deal with spiralling inflation, power cuts and financial hardship - a way of life under Mugabe's regime - and cope with issues common to all people everywhere; failed promises, disappointments and unfulfilled dreams. Compelling, unflinching and tender, "An Elegy for Easterly" is a defining book, and a stunning portrait of a country in chaotic meltdown.

About the Author- Petina Gappah is a Zimbabwean writer. Her writing has already appeared in eight countries - she has written for Prospect, Farafina, Per Contra, the Guardian, the Mail and Guardian, Suddeutsche Zeitung and the Zimbabwe Times and the website of Granta magazine. Petina's writing awards include Zimbabwe's Mukuru Nyaya Award for comic writing, and a runner-up award in the SA/PEN HSBC short story competition judged by JM Coetzee. She has law degrees from Cambridge, Graz University in Austria and the University of Zimbabwe and currently works in Geneva as an international trade lawyer. In addition to English and her native language Shona, Petina also speaks German and French.

2009 Other Shortlisted - Links below got to Amazon UK. Australian visitors who wish to buy or browse please use search box to your right.

The Wilderness, by Samantha Harvey, Cape (novel)-It's Jake's birthday. He is sitting in a plane, being flown over the landscape that has been the backdrop to his life - his childhood, his marriage, his work, his passions. Now he is in his early sixties, and he isn't quite the man he used to be. More

The Selected Works of TS Spivet, by Reif Larsen, Harvill (novel)-T S Spivet is a 12-year-old genius mapmaker who lives on a ranch in Montana. His father is a tight-lipped cowboy and his mother is a scientist who for the last twenty years has been looking for a mythical species of beetle. His brother has gone... More

The Rehearsal, by Eleanor Catton, Granta (novel)-A novel about the unsimple mess of human desire, at once a tender evocation of its young protagonists and a shrewd expose of emotional compromise. A high-school sex scandal jolts a group of teenage girls into a new awareness of their own potency... More •

A Swamp Full of Dollars, by Michael Peel, IB Tauris (non-fiction)- Through a host of characters, from the prostitutes of Port Harcourt to the Area Boys of Lagos, from the militants in their swamp forest hide-outs to the oil company executives in London, this title tells the story of Nigeria, which grows ever more... More

2009 Longlist

Friday 28th August- The longlist for the Guardian First Book Award 2009, in association with Waterstones, has been confirmed. The longlisted books are:

The Secret Lives of Buildings, by Edward Hollis, Portobello (non-fiction)-Takes us from the colossal achievements of antiquity to the contest for Ground Zero, telling stories about buildings and the ways they change. This book reveals the hidden histories of the Parthenon and the Alhambra, visiting churches that have... More

Direct Red, by Gabriel Weston, Cape (non-fiction) -How does it feel to hold someone's life in your hands? What is it like to cut into someone else's body? How do you tell a beautiful young man who seems perfectly fit that he has only a few days left to live? What happens when, on a quiet ward late at night, a patient you've grown close to lifts the corner of his blankets and invites you into his bed? More

The Strangest Man, by Graham Farmelo, Faber (non-fiction)-Paul Dirac was one of the leading pioneers of the greatest revolution in 20th-century science: quantum mechanics. This book celebrates Dirac's massive scientific achievement while drawing a compassionate portrait of his life and work. More

A Swamp Full of Dollars by Michael Peel, IB Tauris (non-fiction)- Through a host of characters, from the prostitutes of Port Harcourt to the Area Boys of Lagos, from the militants in their swamp forest hide-outs to the oil company executives in London, this title tells the story of Nigeria, which grows ever more... More

The Rehearsal, by Eleanor Catton, Granta (novel)-A novel about the unsimple mess of human desire, at once a tender evocation of its young protagonists and a shrewd expose of emotional compromise. A high-school sex scandal jolts a group of teenage girls into a new awareness of their own potency... More

The Wilderness, by Samantha Harvey, Cape (novel)-It's Jake's birthday. He is sitting in a plane, being flown over the landscape that has been the backdrop to his life - his childhood, his marriage, his work, his passions. Now he is in his early sixties, and he isn't quite the man he used to be. More

The Girl With Glass Feet, by Ali Shaw, Atlantic (novel)-Strange things are happening on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St Hauda's Land. Unusual winged creatures flit around icy bogland; albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed woods; jellyfish glow in the ocean's depths... More

The Selected Works of TS Spivet,, by Reif Larsen, Harvill (novel)-T S Spivet is a 12-year-old genius mapmaker who lives on a ranch in Montana. His father is a tight-lipped cowboy and his mother is a scientist who for the last twenty years has been looking for a mythical species of beetle. His brother has gone... More

An Elegy for Easterly, by Petina Gappah, Faber (short story) - Describes the lives of people in Zimbabwe caught up in a situation over which they have no control, as they deal with spiralling inflation, power cuts and financial hardship, and cope with issues common to all people everywhere; failed promises, disappointments and unfulfilled dreams. more

The Missing, by Sian Hughes, Salt (poetry)-A collection of poems that is direct and emotional. It deals with the heart of shame, with parenting, illness, loss, regret and falling in love with the wrong people. More

Podcast Who's who on the Guardian first book award longlist? Claire Armitstead, Sarah Crown and Nicholas Wroe discuss the books on the longlist for this year's Guardian first book award, while previous nominee James Lever explains what it meant to be on the longlist last year for his autobiography of Cheeta the chimp.

Guardian first book award judges

Guardian first book award judges (l to r) Martha Kearney, Tobias Hill, Nadeem Aslam and John Gray.

2008 Winner |2008 Shortlist |2008 Longlist |Winners 1999 to 2007 | top

2008 Winner The Rest is Noise ross_alex

Dec 3rd- An intricate, kaleidoscopic, all-embracing history of 20th-century music from Mahler to La Monte Young is the winner of this year's Guardian first book award. Alex Ross's The Rest Is Noise - was the clear and undisputed winner of the £10,000 prize.

The chair of the judging panel, Guardian literary editor Claire Armitstead, said: "In some quarters this book has been seen as not having a popular appeal. Our prize – which, uniquely, relies on readers' groups in the early stages of judging – proves that, on the contrary, there is a huge appetite among readers for clear, serious but accessible books." Book details

2008 Shortlist Guardian First Book Prize

31.10.08

The Guardian has announced an "ambitious, varied and incredibly individual" shortlist for its first book award. The shortlist comprises two non-fiction titles and three fiction titles (click link for book info below).

Alex Ross, The Rest Is Noise - Winner

Owen Matthews Stalin's Children

Ross Raisin, God's Own Country

Steve Toltz, A Fraction of the Whole

Mohammed Hanif, A Case of Exploding Mangoes

"These are sophisticated books that require a big investment from the reader - an investment for which they are richly rewarded," said Guardian literary editor Claire Armitstead, chairwoman of the judges. She also paid tribute to the books' "generic inventiveness" and "defiance of easy marketing packagability".

The £10,000 prize, which covers fiction, non-fiction and poetry published in the UK, is voted for by a panel of judges, with input from Waterstone's reading groups. Groups from Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Bath, Oxford and London, and one based online, helped narrow down the 10-strong longlist to five books

Award tragic Blog Guardian First Book Award: Comparing Aardvarks with Apples?

Author TV Interviews

Interviews with Steve Toltz, Ross Raisin and Alex Ross on BookAwardTV. Click on demand then Guardian First Novel Shortlisted Authors. Includes a 50 minute presentation by Alex Ross at a Google Bbok Forum.

2008 Winner |2008 Shortlist |2008 Longlist |Winners 1999 to 2007 | top

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2008 Guardian First BookLonglist

A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif (Jonathan Cape)
Empires of the Indus by Alice Albinia (John Murray)
A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (Hamish Hamilton)
God’s own Country by Ross Raisin (Viking)
Me Cheeta: The Autobiography (Fourth Estate)
The Outcast by Sadie Jones (Chatto & Windus)
The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross (Fourth Estate)
Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan (Abacus)
Stalin’s Children by Owen Matthews (Bloomsbury)
Sunday at the Skin Launderette by Kathryn Simmonds (Seren Books

Winners 1999 to 2007

2007 Winner Dinaw Mengestu ( left), Children of the Revolution

Shortlisted
Tahmima Anam, A Golden Age
Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life in the Emerald City
Rosemary Hill, God's Architect
Catherine O'Flynn, What Was Lost

2006 Winner Yiyun Li, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

Shortlisted
o Lorraine Adams, Harbor
o Clare Allan, Poppy Shakespeare
o Hisham Matar, In the Country of Men
o Carrie Tiffany, Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living

2005 Winner Alexander Masters, Stuart: A Life Backwards

Shortlisted
o Reza Aslan, No god but God
o Richard Benson, The Farm
o Suketu Mehta, Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found
o Rattawut Lapcharoensap, Sightseeing

2004 Winner Armand Marie Leroi, Mutants: On the Form, Varieties and Errors of Human Body

Shortlisted
o Matthew Hollis, Ground Water (Bloodaxe)
o David Bezmozgis Natasha and Other Stories (Cape)
o Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (Bloomsbury)
o Rory Stewart The Places in Between, by (Picador)

2003 Winner Robert Macfarlane, Mountains of the Mind

Shortlisted

* Monica Ali,Brick Lane
* DBC Pierre, Vernon God Little
* Paul Broks, Into the Silent Land
* Anna Funder, Stasiland

2008 Winner |2008 Shortlist |2008 Longlist |Winners 1999 to 2007 | top

2002 Winner Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Shortlisted
Alexandra Fuller, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
o Hari Kunzru, The Impressionist
o Oliver Morton, Mapping Mars
o Sandra Newman, The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done

2001 Winner Chris Ware, Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth, graphic novel

Shortlisted
Miranda Carter, Anthony Blunt: His Lives biography
David Edmonds and John Eidinow, Wittgenstein's Poker, non-fiction
Glen David Gold, Carter Beats The Devil, fiction
Rachel Seiffert, The Dark Room, fiction

2000 Winner Zadie Smith, White Teeth

Shortlisted

House of Leaves, Mark Z Danielewski (novel)
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (memoir)
No Logo by Naomi Klein (Politics)
Catfish and Mandala: a Vietnamese Odyssey by Andrew Pham (Travelogue)

1999 Winner Philip Gourevitch, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families

Boxy an Star by Daren King (f)
Ghostwritten (f short stories)
The Blue Bedspread by Raj Kamal Jha.
No Place Like Home Gary Younge (nf memoir)
Bathurst's Lighthouse Stevensons by Bella Bathurst (nf autobigraphy)

Guardian Fiction Prize winners- 1965- 1998

1965 Clive Barry, Crumb Borne
1966 Archie Hind, The Dear Green Place
1967 Eva Figes, Winter Journey
1968 P. J. Kavanagh, A Song and a Dance
1969 Maurice Leitch, Poor Lazarus
1970 Margaret Blount, When Did You Last See your Father?
1971 Thomas Kilroy, The Big Chapel
1972 John Berger, G
1973 Peter Redgrove, In the Country of the Skin
1974 Beryl Bainbridge, The Bottle Factory Outing
1975 Sylvia Clayton, Friends and Romans
1976 Robert Nye, Falstaff
1977 Michael Moorcock, The Condition of Muzak
1978 Neil Jordan, Night in Tunisia
1979 Dambudzo Marechera, The House of Hunger
1980 J. L. Carr, A Month in the Country
1981 John Banville, Kepler
1982 Glyn Hughes, Where I Used to Play on the Green
1983 Graham Swift, Waterland
1984 J. G. Ballard, Empire of the Sun
1985 Peter Ackroyd, Hawksmoor
1986 Jim Crace, Continent
1987 Peter Benson, The Levels
1988 Lucy Ellmann, Sweet Desserts
1989 Carol Lake, Rosehill: Portrait from a Midlands City
1990 Pauline Melville, Shape-Shifter
1991 Alan Judd, The Devil's Own Work
1992 Alasdair Gray, Poor Things
1993 Pat Barker, The Eye in the Door
1994 Candia McWilliam, Debatable Land
1995 James Buchan, Heart's Journey in Winter
1996 Seamus Deane, Reading in the Dark
1997 Anne Michaels, Fugitive Pieces
1998 Jackie Kay, Trumpet

2008 Winner |2008 Shortlist |2008 Longlist |Winners 1999 to 2007 | top

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