Gavin McCrea debut MRS ENGELS shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2016

6th May 2016|Literary Awards

Gavin McCrea’s debut novel Mrs Engels joins Lisa McInerney’s Glorious Heresies and Julia Rochester’s The House at the Edge of the World on the shortlist of the 2016 Desmond Elliott Prize for a first novel. Chair of judges Iain Pears said: “These are hugely ambitious, complex, confident works by three extremely talented writers and it is wonderful that the Desmond Elliott Prize exists to help them reach the wide audience they so richly deserve. With the demise of the Guardian First Book Award, a prize like this is all the more important to new writers.”

Pears also said: “McCrea has cleverly included just enough historical detail to set a very evocative scene, then lets his cast tell the story. The writing always surprises, his characters are compelling without having to be likeable and, as all of we judges noted, Mrs Engels is perhaps the most feminist novel we read for the Prize.”

McCrea’s citation reads: “The cover of Mrs Engels shows a lady mounted on a zebra, a famously unridable steed. Yet here she poses steady of seat and gaze – truly the axis of this turning world, shrewd observer if shrewish commentator. Around her the circus whirls. Gavin McCrea: ringmaster and recorder of this troupe of theoretical acrobats, social lion tamers and communard clowns, schooled but not subdued into a performance as full of brio as it is free of intellectual snobbery. His is a narrative canvas as eventfully crowded as it is richly meaningful, daring to instruct as it is drawn to please.”

Related Books

Mrs Engels

Mrs Engels

Scribe, 2015