2016 First Novel Prize Shortlist aka My Fall Reading List

Go here for synopsis’s about these books.

A week ago the Center of Fiction announced the finalists for this years First Novel Prize. Seeing that the list was a lovely mix of women and color (plus one stoic male equivalent), and I’d already read and loved Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, I wanted to read other books first-time novelists were being celebrated for. The winner will be announced on December 6th so I hope to have read all except Kia Cothron’s The Castle Cross The Magnet Carter by then, which is a galloping 800 pages.

I snagged a free copy of Emma Cline’s The Girls during my creative writing class (which was equivalent to winning the lottery considering the amount of other people who’d shot their hands up for it), I’m halfway through and it’s so enjoyable. I find myself both inspired and wholly consumed with jealousy by Cline’s style, humor, and insight – so much confidence I didn’t think could (or should) exist in a twenty-seven year old writer. But Cline is an obvious exception to the rule and was published in Tin House by the time she was sixteen, while most of us teens were still figuring this writing thing out through angsty poetry.

These finalists have written novels that explore girlhood, freedom, homosexuality, loneliness, and race. For the same reasons I think it’s valuable to keep up to snuff with what literary magazines are publishing, I think it’s also good to read books by new novelists – it’s a direct observation of what the publishing and creative worlds are paying attention to.

Of the five books I haven’t yet read, I’m most excited to read Here Comes The Sun and will pick that one up once I’m done with The Girls. Have you read any of the books on the First Novel Prize shortlist? What did you think? Are any of these going on your ‘to read’ list? Do you have any guesses at which book might win?

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11 thoughts on “2016 First Novel Prize Shortlist aka My Fall Reading List

    1. I’m pretty interested in Gareth Greenwall’s writing too, What Belongs To You has a pretty interesting synopsis so it’s another one I’m looking forward to. 🙂 I might be getting ahead of myself since I’m only halfway through, but The Girls is well worth the read!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Being a writing addict and not getting out much, I’ve not heard of any of these. I love the title, How I became a North Korean. It would make me pick up the book, which is what we all need to consider as writers.
    Your blog keeps me in touch with what’s happening out there, which is one of the reasons why you have just made my Liebster Award list of Chosen Ones.
    Check out the link to see what I’ve written about your blog and decide if you have the time, inclination, degree of insanity, to pick up the torch. https://jacforsyth.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/leibster-award/

    Liked by 1 person

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