York student’s debut novel long-listed for literature’s biggest prize

Image: Fiona Mozley

A York PhD student’s debut novel has been long-listed for the 2017 Man Booker prize – widely considered to be among the most prestigious awards in fiction.

The Man Booker judges announced today that ‘Elmet’, a novel by Fiona Mozley, a York PhD student of medieval eco-politics, has been longlisted for the high-ranking award.

Mozley – the youngest author to be long-listed for this year’s Man Booker – now faces strict competition from some of literature’s biggest names to scoop the prize. If Mozley were to win, she would be the second youngest winner ever of the prize.

In a statement, Mozley said she was “delighted” to be included on the longlist, alongside some of the most well-established voices in fiction. “What an honour to be in such company” added Mozley, paying tribute to her “heroes” and other longlistees, Ali Smith and Zadie Smith.

Other big-hitters to be longlisted from the 144 submissions include Sebastian Barry and Mohsin Hamid.

The York-based writer’s publishers, John Murray Ltd, congratulated Mozley on Twitter for her achievement, saying: “Everyone here at JM are delighted to have our very own @FJMoz and her superb debut Elmet on the 2017 Man Booker longlist! Well done Fiona!”

Mozley, who was born in York, studied her undergraduate degree at Cambridge, before coming to the University of York to study for her PhD. She also has a weekend job at the popular Little Apple bookshop in York.

Elmet, which will be published on the 10th August, is a “lyrical commentary on contemporary society and one family’s precarious place in it” set in Yorkshire. The book explores how “deep the bond between a child and a father can go”. However, an e-book is available to download now.

A shortlist of six books for the award will be announced on the 13th September, with the final winner being revealed at a ceremony broadcast by the BBC on the 17th October.

Winners of the award receive international recognition and acclaim, as well as £50,000. Previous winners include household names,  Margaret Atwood, Kazuo Ishiguro and Ian McEwan.

The chair of this year’s judging panel, Baroness Lola Young said: “Only when we’d finally selected our 13 novels did we fully realise the huge energy, imagination and variety in them as a group.

The longlist showcases a diverse spectrum — not only of voices and literary styles but of protagonists too, in their culture, age and gender.  Nevertheless we found there was a spirit common to all these novels: though their subject matter might be turbulent, their power and range were life-affirming – a tonic for our times.”

The book can be pre-ordered and downloaded here.