Grace McCleen has been named the winner of the fifth Desmond Elliott Prize for her novel The Land of Decoration
(Chatto & Windus). McCleen wins the £10,000 prize for debut fiction.
The judges described The Land of Decoration
as "unlike anything you have ever read." They praised McCleen’s original language and ideas, and the novel's "vivid and life-affirming evocation of the real and surreal life of a young girl in a Christian sect who believes the Last Days have come."
Sam Llewellyn, 2012 Chair of Judges, said in a statement, "The Land of Decoration
is a novel that can move the reader from sadness to laughter with alarming suddenness. Grace McCleen's voice sparkles with imagery and ideas, and she uses it to tell a story that is simultaneously multi-layered and absolutely compelling."
This year's Desmond Elliott shortlist included The Last Hundred Days
by Patrick McGuinness (Seren) and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
by Rachel Joyce (Doubleday).
The annual award is given a first novel published in the UK and Ireland. The award was set up in memory of publisher and literary agent Desmond Elliott to "enrich the careers of new writers." The website for the fiction prize can be found at desmondelliottprize.org
Photo: Henry Holt and Co.