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Patrick Flanery’s Absolution Longlisted for the 2012 Guardian First Book Award

AbsolutionAlert! Patrick Flanery’s Absolution, which is set in South Africa, has been longlisted for the 2012 Guardian First Book Award.

The British-based American author’s debut novel has received much praise and was longlisted for the 2012 Desmond Elliott Prize earlier this year. It also sparked some debate locally when Justice Malala addressed the “absence of black voices” in South African literature after reading Absolution.

Among the judges of the award are Ahdaf Soueif, Kate Summerscale and Jeanette Winterson. Reading groups in the UK will help the panel pick a shortlist, to be announced in October. The winner will be announced on 29 November. Past winners include Petina Gappah, Zadie Smith and Jonathan Safran Foer.

Chad Harbach’s highly praised debut The Art of Fielding is competing with an Iraq veteran’s “raw, visceral” novel about the impact of war and a journalist’s account of the time she spent living in a Mumbai slum on the longlist for the Guardian first book award.

Eleven titles have been chosen for the £10,000 prize, from Mary Costello’s collection of Irish short stories The China Factory, released by small publisher Stinging Fly Press, to Harbach’s novel, which follows the story of baseball player Henry Skrimshander and arrives garlanded with praise from Jonathan Franzen and John Irving. For the second year running, Guardian readers nominated a title, this year choosing Sarah Jackson’s “assured and mysterious” poetry collection Pelt.

The LifeboatTony Hogan Bought Me An Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My MaThe Yellow BirdsThe Art of FieldingThe China Factory
Behind the Beautiful ForeversPeltSandstormThe Origins of SexQuiet

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