Press ReleaseThe Irish author Kevin Barry has won the 59th Authors' Club Best First Novel Award for City of Bohane (Cape).
This tale of gang warfare in a ramshackle Irish coastal city in the near future is part West Side Story and part The Wire. City of Bohane is a linguistic tour-de-force of brilliant dialogue and atmospheric description.
The prize was adjudicated by the novelist and critic DJ Taylor, who presented the winner with a cheque for £2,500 at a ceremony at the National Liberal Club in London on Wednesday 6 June.
Taylor remarked on the difficulty of choosing one book from such an exceptionally strong shortlist, which included Clare Morgan's A Book for All and None, The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness, Leela's Book by Alice Albinia and Padrika Tarrant's The Knife Drawer.
The judging panel, chaired by literary critic Suzi Feay, had negotiated the longlist down to seven titles, with two of those receiving equal but not full support. But it was decided that it would be fairer not to choose either of the contentious two – a rare example of a shortlist being reduced because there were too many worthy novels.
The Authors' Club was founded in 1891 as a place where writers could meet and talk, and past members have included Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle, Rider Haggard, Ford Madox Ford and Graham Greene. The Best First Novel Award was launched in 1954, and in its history has been presented to novels including: Alan Sillitoe's Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958); Paul Bailey's At the Jerusalem (1967); Peter Benson's The Levels (1987); Jackie Kay's Trumpet (1998) and Anthony Quinn's The Rescue Man (2010).