Channelling the Spirit of the North

Books

Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile has made it onto this year’s £10,000 Portico Prize for Literature shortlist, an award for writing that “best evokes the spirit of the North”. Other shortlisted titles include Saltwater by Jessica Andrews (Sceptre), Ironopolis by Glen James Brown (Parthian), The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson (Lightning Books), The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness by Graham Caveney (Picador), and Under the Rock: The Poetry of a Place by Benjamin Myers (Elliott & Thompson).

Here’s what the Bookseller had to say about it:

The shortlist of six was revealed on Monday (9th December) and was praised by the judges for celebrating “the spirit of the people, the spirit of place and the wonderful diversity of the North”. It comprises four fiction titles, three of which are debuts, and two non-fiction titles, while the ratio of books from mainstream publishers against independents is 50:50.

The six books were whittled down from a longlist selected by the Portico Prize’s newly formed Society of Readers and Writers. They were chosen by a panel of judges chaired by journalist and broadcaster Simon Savidge of Savidge Reads.

Savidge said: “This list defies the rumour that it’s grim up North. Yes, it can be gritty up North; yes, it can be gothic up North; but more than anything it’s glorious and great up North. These books celebrate the spirit of the people, the spirit of place and the wonderful diversity of the North…”

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Gordon Burn Prize

Books

Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile is shortlisted for the 2017 Gordon Burn Prize. This news has made me happier than Rita and Sue watching House of Fun on a pink leather sofa.

Here’s a bit of info from New Writing North if you’re curious to find out more…

In the spirit of the Gordon Burn Prize, the shortlist is far-reaching, eclectic and provocative. It includes two debuts, four works of fiction and two of non-fiction, with a third of the list published by two small presses as the resurgence of the independent publisher in the UK continues.

“The Gordon Burn Prize shortlist continues to showcase some of the most interesting contemporary writing in its wide-ranging selection of titles. Six titles were selected by judges Petina Gappah, Allan Jenkins, Ian Sansom and Cosey Fanni Tutti to go forward:

  • Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile by Adelle Stripe (Wrecking Ball Press)
  • Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe by Kapka Kassabova (Granta Books)
  • First Love by Gwendoline Riley (Granta Books)
  • The Long Drop by Denise Mina (Harvill Secker)
  • This Is Memorial Device by David Keenan (Faber & Faber)
  • This Is the Place to Be by Lara Pawson (CB Editions)

Ian Sansom, one of the judges, commented:

‘Gordon Burn was unique and the Gordon Burn Prize is unique. It recognises what so many prizes fail to recognise: that literature, like all art, is in a constant process of reinvention and renewal and that the novel is a truly bastard form. The Gordon Burn Prize is a celebration of the art of possibility. This year’s shortlist includes hybrid works in many forms – autofiction, memoir, biography, travel writing and crime — and draws attention to brilliant and truly inventive work that might otherwise be overlooked. All ye that are weary and heavy burdened, gaze upon these works and wonder!’

The winner of the Gordon Burn Prize 2017 will be announced at Durham Book Festival on Thursday 12 October 2017. Tickets are on sale from the Durham Book Festival website from 10 August.

Discover the titles at gordonburnprize.com”