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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.

In 2020, the thirteenth year of the prize, The Desmond Elliott Prize moved into the care of National Centre for Writing, as the flagship in its Early Career Awards portfolio, a new year-round platform of support and mentorship, alongside financial assistance for exceptional early-career writers.

Find out more about The Desmond Elliott Prize here.

2022 Desmond Elliott Prize Winner

Chair of Judges, Derek Owusu, said:

With Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies, Maddie Mortimer has penetrated the body and spirit of literature, taking an experience, one familiar to so many of us, and making it completely unique. The experimentation with language, form and ideas, offers us something that is precious and personal to each writer: human truth. It’s a courageous feat, and one executed with the wisdom of a sagacious observer. Read more...

Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies : Longlisted for the Booker Prize - Maddie Mortimer

Something gleeful and malevolent is moving in Lia's body, learning her life from the inside out. A shape-shifter. A disaster tourist. It's travelling down the banks of her canals. It's spreading...

When a sudden diagnosis upends Lia's world, the boundaries between her past and her present begin to collapse. Deeply buried secrets stir awake.

As the voice prowling in Lia takes hold of her story, and the landscape around becomes indistinguishable from the one within, Lia and her family are faced with some of the hardest questions of all: how can we move on from the events that have shaped us, when our bodies harbour everything? And what does it mean to die with grace, when you're simply not ready to let go?



2022 Desmond Elliott Prize Shortlist

Chair of Judges, Derek Owusu, said:

This was a difficult shortlist to pull together as there were so many incredible books to choose from, but the three that we have chosen we feel best reflect the spirit of the Desmond Elliott Prize. Each book is inventive, transportive and possesses the ability to elicit that feeling of awe that every reader recognises when they’re reading a profound piece of literature. Read more...

2022 Desmond Elliott Prize Longlist