Sam Leith

Books Podcast: The art of the first novel

Books Podcast: The art of the first novel
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In this week’s Books Podcast, we’re turning our eye on an area of literary endeavour that is too often neglected: the first novel. Dozens are published every month; few are ever noticed. The late literary agent Desmond Elliott founded a prize to ensure that more of them were — and that the best would be publicly celebrated.

Ahead of next week’s Desmond Elliott Prize announcement on Wednesday 21st, then, I talk to each of the three writers on this year’s shortlist:

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is the author of the moving and artful story of a Japanese-American girl’s growth into a woman and an artist, Harmless Like You; Kit De Waal is the author of My Name Is Leon, the piercing tale of a mixed-race boy struggling through the fostering system in 1980s London; and finally Francis Spufford, whose Golden Hill is a picaresque romp through the New York of the mid-18th-century.

Three very different books; three hugely talented authors. I hope you’ll spare the time to join me.

And do subscribe to the Spectator Books podcast on iTunes for a new episode every Thursday.

Written bySam Leith

Sam Leith is an English author, journalist and literary editor of The Spectator.

Topics in this articleBook Reviews