The Desmond Elliott Prize for Debut Fiction Published in the UK 2013

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The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber


Stop. Pay attention. Hear a dead man speak

These are the attention grabbing words that Ros Barber addresses to the reader at the start of this unique tale. Marlowe was a playwright with a reputation not only for his plays but also for his lifestyle. His gory death from a stab wound through the eye is one of the many contentious points in a brief but very lively life. Full review...

Other Shortlisted Books

The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence


While re-entering the UK with some human ashes and a stash of marijuana, Alex Woods is stopped by customs and referred to the police. It all started 6 years before when, as an 11 year old living in England's West Country, his escape from bullies necessitates breaking into a shed; the shed of a man with a gun pointing at Alex. The man is American Vietnam veteran Isaac Peterson and, whatever his school teachers may say to the contrary, this is the moment when Alex's education really begins; this and the moment when he was hit on the head by a passing meteor of course. Full review...

The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan


Imagine reading a book set in a Scottish children’s care home. It’s about a violent and a deeply disturbed fifteen year old drug addict who, when she was eleven, found her prostitute foster mother murdered in the bathtub. That’s the set-up of Jenni Fagan’s The Panopticon, and that’s what it’s about – but the funny thing is that whatever you’re picturing in your head right now, and what I was imagining before I sat down to read it, bears absolutely no resemblance to the book Fagan has actually written. Full review...


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