Paul Murray and Fern Brady have been nominated for the first ever Nero Awards.
Paul Murray, Eleanor Catton, and Fern Brady have been selected as finalists for the first-ever Nero book awards.
In May of this year, Caffè Nero revealed their new awards, just months after Costa suddenly cancelled their 50-year-old book prizes. The updated awards feature 16 nominated writers in four different categories: fiction, debut fiction, children’s fiction, and non-fiction.
The recipient of the Nero Gold prize, who will be announced in February, will receive an additional £30,000. The winners of each category will be announced in January and will also be awarded £5,000.
Murray, a writer from Ireland, was named as a potential winner in the fiction category for his book The Bee Sting. This comedic family tale is also a contender for this year’s Booker prize, with the announcement of the winner on Sunday. Another Irish author, Megan Nolan, was also shortlisted for her second novel, Ordinary Human Failings, which explores a family’s involvement in a crime.
The shortlist for fiction includes Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton, who has previously won the Booker prize, and Fifteen Wild Decembers by Karen Powell, a retelling of the Brontë family’s lives.
There are two Irish authors included in the first-time fiction shortlist. One of them is Michael Magee with his book Close to Home, which was also nominated for the Waterstones debut fiction prize. The judges praised the unique voice in the novel, capturing the struggles of a character and their community as they fight against poverty, disillusionment, and boredom. Another book on the list is Sunburn by Chloe Michelle Howarth, a coming-of-age story set in 1990s Ireland.
Tom Crewe, a contributing editor for the London Review of Books, has been nominated for the debut fiction award for his novel, The New Life. The story is set during the Oscar Wilde trial and has also been recognized with the Orwell prize for political fiction. Another contender on the shortlist is Stephen Buoro with his novel, The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa. The judges praised the book for its extraordinary storytelling and eccentric main character. They also noted that the novel is thought-provoking and challenging, but does not offer easy solutions.
The shortlist for non-fiction consists of four works written by female authors. These include Fern Brady’s memoir, “Strong Female Character,” and Freya Bromley’s “The Tidal Year,” a personal account of coping with loss and the therapeutic benefits of swimming.
Lex Croucher, a well-known figure on social media, has made the shortlist for the children’s fiction award with their debut YA novel, titled “Gwen and Art Are Not in Love.”
The panel of judges was requested to select their top recommendations for reading material. The current group of judges consists of authors Sara Collins, Sarfraz Manzoor, Anthony Quinn, and Dave Rudden.
The awards were available for books that were released anytime from December 2022 to November 2023, written by authors who have lived in the UK or Ireland for the past three years.