The U.K. newspaper the Guardian announced today the ten semifinalists for its 2009 First Book Award. The winner, whose book will be selected from a field of poetry, fiction, memoir, and nonfiction works, will receive ten thousand pounds (approximately sixteen thousand dollars).
The longlisted authors are:
Eleanor Catton for her novel The Rehearsal (Granta)
Samantha Harvey for her novel The Wilderness (Jonathan Cape)
Siân Hughes for her poetry collection The Missing (Salt Publishing)
Reif Larsen for his novel The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet (Harvill)
Ali Shaw for her novel The Girl With Glass Feet (Atlantic)
Gabriel Weston for her memoir Direct Red (Jonathan Cape)
Three writers of nonfiction books were also selected as semifinalists. They are Edward Hollis for The Secret Lives of Buildings (Portobello), Graham Farmelo for The Strangest Man (Faber and Faber), and Michael Peel for A Swamp Full of Dollars (I. B. Tauris).
The judges for this year's prize are Claire Armitstead, Nadeem Aslam, John Gray, Tobias Hill, Martha Kearney, and Katharine Vinero. To aid in their selection of the winner, the judging panel will be offered commentary from five reading groups assembled by the U.K. bookstore Waterstone's. In November the group will reveal its shortlist of five authors and the winner will be announced in December.
The annual prize, past winners of which include Jonathan Safran Foer and Zadie Smith, is open to all debut authors writing in English.