The Betty Trask Prize and Awards are presented for a first novel by a writer under 35. Past winners include Zadie Smith, David Szalay, Hari Kunzru and Sarah Waters. Total prize and award fund is £26,250. The Authors’ Awards, presented by Stephen Fry, will take place at RIBA on the evening of Thursday 19 July.
The 2018 shortlist:
- Mussolini’s Island by Sarah Day (Tinder Press)
- All the Good Things by Clare Fisher (Viking)
- Strange Heart Beating by Eli Goldstone (Granta)
- The City Always Wins by Omar Robert Hamilton (Faber and Faber)
- Bad Ideas/Chemicals by Lloyd Markham (Parthian)
- The Reactive by Masanda Ntshanga (Jacaranda)
The Trask shortlist is always very strong, very original, and this year is no different – six books reflecting the excellent quality and diversity of new writers today. We have Clare Fisher's touching, tough and incisive view of what it's like to be a child in care, robbed of choices; Eli Goldstone's fable-like tale that spirits the reader from London to the deep forests of Latvia; Lloyd Markham's death stare at society, sharp as a syringe and gloriously weird; Masande Ntshanga depiction of the gritty reality of Cape Town in 2003 through the smoky lens of the young and high; Omar Robert Hamilton's tough, bleak and relentless work – a challenging, heart-wrenching and in many ways, necessary novel; while Sarah Day presents a powerful but little-known historical narrative that needed to be told.
Judges Ben Brooks, Joanne Harris and Samantha Shannon.
I’m overwhelmed and extremely happy that Bad Ideas\Chemicals has received this accolade. This book was a very personal project and it means a lot to me that it is resonating with people.
Cardiff-based author Lloyd Markham opened a pop-up bookshop with his novelist housemate Crystal Jeans to launch their new books in July 2017. During their Festival of Bad Ideas, the Carnival bookshop stocked Lloyd's dark, weird first novel Bad Ideas\Chemicals (Parthian) and Crystal's 'funny, fiery' second novel Light Switches are my Kryptonite (Honno). Both books have recently been shortlisted, alongside Tristan Hughes' Hummingbird (Parthian), for Wales Book of the Year 2018. The winner will be announced in Cardiff on 26 June.
As Crystal and Lloyd are both still sharing a house, conditions at home have been described as ‘tense’.
You know we've made a lot of goofs on twitter about fighting to the death over the #WBOTY18 Fiction Award but, all jokes aside, me and @crystaljeans1 are actually good mates. Nothing untoward going on in our house! 🙂✌ pic.twitter.com/5Nk9vdSjEc— Lloyd Markham (@lloyd_markham) 25 June 2018
About Bad Ideas\Chemicals:
Cassandra Fish believes she is out of this world, wearing her orange film-set spacesuit daily in the hope that her absent parents will return and take her back to her real planet. While she waits she accompanies her friends – frustrated musician Billy, the only open mic player in the town and the laddish, volatile Fox – from bar to nightclub – on one last great night out to drink, dance, take bad chemicals, have bad trips, have bad ideas, and do unthinkable things.
About Lloyd Markham:
Lloyd Markham was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, moving to and settling in Bridgend, south Wales when he was thirteen. He spent the rest of his teenage years miserable and strange and having bad nights out before undertaking a BA in Writing at Glamorgan followed by an MPhil. He enjoys noise music, Japanese animation and the documentaries of Adam Curtis. His favourite book is The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. He operates synthesisers in a band called Deep Hum and has less bad nights out these days.