The Desmond Elliott Prize for Debut Fiction Published in the UK 2012

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Three books on the shortlist - and we'll know the winner on 28 June

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce


Harold and Maureen Fry were unremarkable: one long marriage, one adult offspring and a long retirement stretching out in front of them like a prison sentence. One morning everything changed. The catalyst was a letter from Queenie, an ex-colleague of Harold's. He knew he needed to respond and thought that posting a letter would suffice. However, a chat with a girl at the local petrol station made him realise that a letter couldn't be enough. He had to provide Queenie with hope... he had to walk. Full review...

The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen


Grace McCleen's debut novel, The Land of Decoration paints an original, unsettling, sometimes dark and generally rather wonderful picture. Narrated by ten year old Judith, raised by her father who is a fundamental religious follower of the end of the world is nigh variety, it looks at bullying, both at school and in more general society, faith and the possible rejection thereof and the strength of childhood imagination. Full review...

The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness


'The Last Hundred Days' in question here are the final days of Ceausescu's Romania in late 1989. Narrated by an unnamed young British expat who has a job offer from the English department of Bucharest University, despite never having interviewed for the job, we get an insight into the life under communist rule as Eastern bloc countries all around start to open up after the fall of the Berlin Wall. We are told that McGuinness lived in Romania in the years leading up to the revolution, and this is no surprise as there is an authenticity here that could only have come from some level of inside knowledge. Full review...


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