All-woman shortlist for this year’s Dundee International Book Prize

The final three novels in contention for this year’s Dundee International Book Prize have been announced.

The Margins by Jessica Thummel, Shadow Jumping by Margaret Ries and London Clay by Amy Spencer will compete for the prestigious award, which includes a publishing deal with Freight Books, a £5000 cash prize and protected writing time in Dundee.

Jessica, Margaret and Amy’s novels will now go before this year’s judging panel, which consists of broadcaster Shereen Nanjiani, poet Ian McMillan, critic Hannah McGill and publisher Adrian Searle

The winner will be announced at this year’s Dundee Literary Festival which takes place from Wednesday, 19th October to Sunday, 23rd October

Peggy Hughes, of Literary Dundee, said, “We’ve got three really brilliant novels on our hands in what’s been a particularly strong year for the Dundee International Book Prize.

“The Dundee International Book Prize is a vital part of our work, and a key way in which we celebrate and champion new voices. This year’s shortlist is a stellar mix of international talent and genres, and we’re deeply excited to see which one will win.”

Jessica Thummel’s The Margins, is the coming-of-age story of Sam Gavin, a transman who moves from Kansas to San Francisco in the summer of 1989.

Margaret Ries’ Shadow Jumping is set in Berlin in the early 1990s and protagonist Alex wishes to lose herself in the tumult.

Amy Spencer’s London Clay is the story of Evie Gray, a young woman from a family haunted by disappearances who is searching for her brother, Joe.

The Dundee International Book Prize is now in its 12th year and remains a popular platform for debut writers. Previous winners include Amy Mason, with The Other Ida in 2014 and Martin Cathcart Froden, with Devil Take the Hindmost in 2015.

Councillor Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said, “This is a tremendous shortlist reflecting the interest in Dundee’s prestigious international book prize and the city’s growing reputation as a cultural hotspot.

“Each year the quantity and quality of entrants goes from strength to strength. I never envy the judges the difficult task they have of choosing just one winner from such a strong field but every time they manage to select a deserving book to take the title.”

Adrian Searle, Publisher, Freight Books said, “From a strong longlist, after much deliberation, we’ve selected an outstanding shortlist that demonstrates a breadth of experience and powerful storytelling.

“Each of the three writers here have shown real craft and all have exciting futures ahead of them, regardless of who comes out on top.”

The Dundee International Book Prize is a collaboration between the University of Dundee, Freight Books and Dundee City Council's 'One City, Many Discoveries' campaign.

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Cara Longmuir
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University of Dundee
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