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Desmond Elliott Prize

Launched in 2007, The Desmond Elliott Prize has quickly become established as the premier prize for new fiction.

Every year, a panel of three judges are asked to look for a novel which has a compelling narrative, arresting characters and which is both vividly written and confidently realised. Books from all fiction genres are considered.

Worth £10,000 to the winner, the Prize is intended to support new writers and to celebrate their fiction. It was created in memory of the charismatic publisher and literary agent Desmond Elliott, who died in August 2003. He stipulated that his estate should be invested in a charitable trust that would fund a literary award “to enrich the careers of new writers”.

Winner of the 2019 Desmond Elliott Prize

Chair of judges and author, Alan Hollinghurst

Our 2019 winner Claire Adam demonstrates masterly control as she details the tragic fracturing of a family, and the beauty and the latent violence of her Trinidadian setting are miraculously vivid. Her novel combines the harsh force of a fable with the unforgettable strangeness of real life and – like all the very best debuts – Golden Child gives a sudden and enlightening view of both a new subject and a new mind.?

Golden Child: Winner of the Desmond Elliot Prize 2019 - Claire Adam

It's dark now; the bats are out.

Insects knock against the light on the patio and the dog sits at the gate.

A boy has not returned home and a family anxiously awaits.

A father steps out into the night to search for his son. As the hours turn into days, this man will learn many things...

Claire Adam's electrifying first novel reckons with the secrets of the human heart.

It tells a story about wanting more for our children; it casts its spell with uncommon wisdom and grace.



Discover all the books longlisted for the 2019 Prize