Fiction Uncovered celebrates some of the best in British fiction. The judges read dozens of novels by writers who are neither debutants nor yet huge award winners, but who have often produced several excellent works of fiction. Here novelist Louise Doughty, Chair of Judges for this year's panel, introduces the Fiction Uncovered 2013 titles.
All the Beggars Riding is Caldwell's third novel and is about the children of the mistress of a married man who have remained in hiding most of their lives but emerge into the light when their father is killed in helicopter crash in Northern Ireland. Judge Lynne Hatwell called it, 'a jagged, searing and intense perspective on love, loss, the chaos of memory and so much more'.
How I Killed Margaret Thatcher is also Cartwright's third novel and is the story of a boy who sees his family's lives devastated by Thatcherism. Courttia Newland said of it: 'While some books capture the spirit of a specific time and place, others paint a broad canvas which speaks of timelessness and exact a relevance all of their own. Cartwright manages both in this masterful exploration. An urgently necessary work'.
This is another third novel from a novelist to watch, a bleakly funny but touching and convincing portrait of a young married couple experiencing a miscarriage--but from the husband's point of view, a rarely explored area of an emotive topic. Lynne Hatwell says, 'Amal and Claud struggle to make sense of what has happened to them against a background of assumptions, high expectations and social pressures. This is a fluent, involving and beautifully written novel'.
Nikita Lalwani was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize with her first novel, Gifted, and has already been shortlisted for the 2008 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. The Village is set in a model prison in India, set up as a social experiment, where people who have committed murder live in a self-sustaining community. Lalwani has a rare gift for getting inside character in a tough, engaging and often funny read where all your preconceptions will be overturned and no-one is quite how they seem.
Nell Leyshon is another prize nominated author--she's been long-listed for the Orange Prize, and shortlisted for the Commonwealth prize. Set in 1830, The Colour of Milk tells the story through the journal of a 14-year-old farm girl. Mary is the youngest of four daughters who has a strong spirit and desire to learn how to read and write. Judge Sandeep Mahal says of it, 'Nell Leyshon has perfectly captured characters of its time and beautiful prose filled with truth, hope and anticipation that makes this novel a pure joy to read'.
James Meek is the most well known author on this list--The Heart Broke In was shortlisted for the Costa Book Award 2012. He is one of our best novelists; his fat, compulsive, brilliant books have wide ranging narratives that cover world issues as well as the stories at the centre of the human heart. Few novelists writing today have such an acute ear for the nuances of family life and relationships--but Meek never forgets to set his human stories in a social context, making him a supreme contemporary satirist as well storyteller.
Orkney is Amy Sackville's second novel. Set on the island of the title, it concerns the increasingly dark and mysterious relationship between Richard, a 60-year-old English professor and his lovely but elusive young bride. Sandeep Mahal says of it, 'The story unfolds slowly, beginning with excitement and the allure of romance, but the mood changes into something darker. Sackville's skill is in her poetic, lyrical writing, full of rich and emotive feelings, the ebb and flow of the waves and descriptions of the beauty, colours and wildness of the islands'.
Rupert Thomson is the author of eight critically acclaimed novels. Secrecy was inspired by the life and work of the eccentric Sicilian wax artist, Gaetano Giulio Zumbo and is a compulsive historical thriller. Courttia Newland calls it, 'A splendorous, dark examination of the artist's mind set in a politically tumultuous Florence where shadowed streets and alleys mask cruelty and beauty in equal measure. Secrecy is a twisted hybrid of fantastical reality, stark and terrifying. Daringly bold and decadent'.Get Secrecy: Kindle | Hardcover