Great news! South African writer Andrew Salomon – previously seen in these pages as a runner-up in the Pen/Studzinski Literary Award stakes – has been shortlisted for the inaugural Terry Pratchett Prize, for his manuscript, Lun.
Last year, Sir Pratchet and Transworld Publishers launched the prize, whose full title is the “Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize”, establish to encourage aspiring new novelists with ambitions in the fantasy genre.
The Pratchett winner will receive a publishing contract with a £20 000 – and will have his or her novel read by judges Tony Robinson, Michael Rowley, Marianne Velmans, Simon Taylor – and of course Terry Pratchett himself.
The six shortlisted works apparently span a variety of genres and introduce a number alternate worlds. Here is the shortlist of the nominated books and their authors, in alphabetical order:
1. Postponing Armageddon by Adele Abbott
2. The Platinum Ticket by Dave Beynon
3. Half Sick of Shadows by David Logan
4. Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan
5. Lun by Andrew Salomon
6. The Coven at Callington by Shereen Vedam
We contacted Salomon straightaway upon hearing the news, and he sent through a little teaser from on Lun:
Richard Nevis is looking to change his life; that is why he has quit his job at an unscrupulous Cape Town law firm and started restoring antique boats. But things soon start unravelling when this volunteer work at a local tokoloshe shelter leads him and a spirited young tokoloshe named Lun headlong into the shadow side of the Cape. An ancient metal box that can only be opened by a tokoloshe holds a sought after object and the evil monster Mamron and his beautiful but mute sidekick twins will stop at nothing to get it. As if being on the run from them is not enough to contend with, Richard and Lun are also pursued by Kras, the merciless Cape Town crime lord who contracts Mr Doorway – said to be the most effective assassin in the business – to retrieve the box and eliminate all who keep him from this objective. As Richard and Lun try and stay one step ahead of annihilation they are aided by the Pit-bull Midwives; the enigmatic Miss Ngoyi whose past refuses to stay past, and her apprentice, the beautiful Emily White .
The story enfolds at a brisk pace around Cape Town, Nieu Bethesda, Uniondale and Gansbaai as Richard gets way more change than he would ever have wanted, and more than he might survive. This is a South African landscape where myths and stories take flesh and the monsters are not just in your imagination. This is the world of Lun.
The winner will be announced by Terry Pratchett at a party to be held on 31 May 2011. We wish Salomon the best of luck!