The Desmond Elliot Prize is a once-a-year event where an English-written novel is won. The work has to be published within the U.K., and the winner walks away with a big £10,000. The prize is named after Desmond Elliott – a glamorous literary agent and publisher who passed away in 2003.
So why did they name the prize after this particular man?
Because; he has been described as ‘captivating and comical’ and lived his life to the fullest. He was based in Mayfair during his working hours, and had places to live in St. James’s and on Park Avenue (probably because in that way he would be able to choose a home closer to where he was, and sleep there from his costly night out!). Rumour has it that he only drank champagne, ate at the most spectacular (and expensive) restaurants and travelled abroad by conchord.
This all sounds fantastic, but how does it relate to Elliott having a prestigious prize dedicated to him?
Because he has always supported new and struggling writers, and was a literary agent and writer himself.
Previous winners of the prize were; Edward Hogan with Blackmoor in 2009, Nikita Lalwani in 2008 with her novel Gifted, and last year Ali Shaw’s The Girl with Glass Feet took the prize.
This year’s longlist features a vast mix of genres and categories.
Some of the individuals that are in the running for the prize are; former commisioning editor of ELLE Magazine in India, Anjali Joseph (Saraswati Park – Fourth Estate), well renowned journalist Leo Benedictus (The After Party – Jonathan Cape) and urban lawyer Jonathan Lee (Who Is Mr. Satoshi? - William Heinemann) and last but not least – and probably best known – Stephen Kelman with Pigeon English (Bloomsbury).
The shortlist will be announced on Wednesday, 25th May, and the final decisions/prize will be revealed in June.
For extra low-down on the longlist and how to stay posted (and maybe submit your written work of art for next year?) go to Desmond Elliott Prize official site.