Winner announced

Sixty readers watched as almost 120 votes were counted last night.  The winner, by a good margin, was Matthew Frank for his unusual and gripping thriller “If I Should Die”.  Advocates spoke in favour of each of the short-listed books, but the outcome rapidly became clear.  Earlier in the meeting Paul Lavin spoke about the proframme for the upcoming (September) Chester Literature Festival.  Read all about it at 


The short list

Last evening’s shortlisting meeting was exciting.  A large number of people were disappointed that one of their favourite books did not make it to the Shortlist.  Me too! While I thoroughly approve of If I Should Die and After Before, I was disappointed not to see Insh’Allah go through.  Four readers gave it full marks (10), so I am not alone.  Congratulations to the five shortlisted authors (all but one are women, I notice).  You can find the list on the web site under BOOK LISTS (

Costa short list

Three of “our” authors have made the short list for the Costa first novel prize.  Carys Bray (A Song for Issy Bradley) spoke to us on Monday, having to keep her exciting news to herself – but we know now.  Well done Carys, Simon Wroe (for Chop, Chop) and Emma Healey (for (Elizabeth is Missing).  I have read all three of these and enjoyed all of them – I encourage you to do the same.




Anyone read Randall?

I really enjoyed Randall, by Jonathan Gibbs, but can anyone help me out with the ending? This is not a spoiler – you will have to read the whole book to understand the significance of my question, which is: So where is the painting? I guess I’m stupid, so will some more enlightened reader help me out?


Prize Dinner with Gavin Extence

Gavin Extence was presented with the 2013 WGR Award (and cheque for £1000) at a well-attended dinner on 10th October.  It was a great evening and Gavin gave tribute to his Editor, Kate Howard, for commissioning the winning book (and now three more!).  Well done both of you.


Issy Bradley

Carys Bray wrote about a family growing up in Mormon community. A good, if troubling, read. Two novels this year by (lapsed?) female writers from strict religious families. Carys will speak in Waverton at our next meeting on 17th November.


2014/15 season about to start

Books entered for the coming year’s prize are pouring in to Gwen’s study.  I will soon be updating both the web site and this blog with the full list of new titles.  Watch this space.