Readersforum's Blog

November 9, 2012

Guardian First Book award 2012 shortlist announced

Kevin Powers’ debut novel about the Iraq war is shortlisted alongside Chad Harbach’s about baseball, Kerry Hudson’s story of childhood poverty, and non-fictional accounts of the conflict in Libya and life in a slum in Mumbai.

By Alison Flood

Kevin Powers, who turned to fiction after serving with the US army in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, has made the shortlist for the Guardian first book award with his debut novel, a shattering look at the cost of war.

Powers’ The Yellow Birds, which opens with the line “The war tried to kill us in the spring”, is one of three novels chosen by judges for this year’s shortlist, alongside Scottish writer Kerry Hudson’s Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma, the story of a childhood in council flats and B&Bs, and American novelist Chad Harbach’s highly acclaimed debut, The Art of Fielding, about a talented baseball player.

Judges headed by Guardian Review editor, Lisa Allardice, also chose two non-fiction titles for their shortlist: Channel 4 international editor Lindsey Hilsum’s non-fiction account of the Libyan revolution, Sandstorm, and the Pulitzer prize-winning New Yorker journalist Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, an account of the time she spent getting to know the inhabitants of a Mumbai slum.

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