The Prize is named after the literary agent and publisher, Desmond Elliott, in memory of his passion for discovering and nurturing emerging authors. First awarded in 2008, the Prize has a track record of spotting outstandingly talented novelists at the beginning of their careers, with former winners including Eimear McBride for A Girl is a Half-formed Thing and Claire Fuller for Our Endless Numbered Days, as well as Preti Taneja for We That Are Young.
Something gleeful and malevolent is moving in Lia's body, learning her life from the inside out. A shape-shifter. A disaster tourist. It's travelling down the banks of her canals. It's spreading. When a sudden diagnosis upends Lia's world, the boundaries between her past and her present begin to collapse. Deeply buried secrets stir awake. As the voice prowling in Lia takes hold of her story, and the landscape around becomes indistinguishable from the one within, Lia and her family are faced with some of the hardest questions of all: how can we move on from the events that have shaped us, when our bodies harbour everything? And what does it mean to die with grace, when you're simply not ready to let go? Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies is a story of coming-of-age at the end of a life. Utterly heart-breaking yet darkly funny, Maddie Mortimer's astonishing debut is a symphonic journey through one woman's body: a wild and lyrical celebration of desire, forgiveness, and the darkness within us all.
- Browns Books Synopsis
Ten novels are longlisted for the prize, from which three shortlisted novels are selected by a panel of expert judges. The winning author will be celebrated at an event in July 2021, receiving the £10,000 prize to support their writing future, alongside a year of support from the National Centre for Writing.