The London Magazine Prize for Debut Fiction 2020, now in its third year, has been awarded to Nicole Flattery for Show Them a Good Time, a short story collection which puts a contemporary twist on dark humour.
Matthew Scott, co-editor of The London Magazine, praised the author for her keen observational approach to short fiction, commenting how “Flattery observes common events – a cocktail party, say – at a remove, revealing the absurdity of modern life.”
Mia Levitin, judge and author of The Future of Seduction, called it a book for our times: “Eschewing linear narrative, Flattery has said that she is interested in dead, unproductive time and in purgatorial space. This, all of us felt, resonated in particular as time warped during lockdown. The protagonists in her stories may be adrift but not all who wander are lost.”
Published by Stinging Fly and Bloomsbury, Flattery’s first full-length collection was recognised as the winner on Monday 21st October during a digital ceremony, held under the auspices of The London Magazine.
Houman Barekat, book critic, editor of Review 31, and a judge on this year’s panel, commented:
“Show Them a Good Time is one of the most distinctive fiction debuts of recent years. The stories in this very fine collection riff intelligently on questions of class and cultural capital, on the power dynamics of romance and the legacy of trauma. Flattery has a rare ability to comfortably inhabit multiple registers at once: the stories are thoughtful and sensitive, but suffused throughout with mordant wit and irreverent humour.”
The shortlist, which features outstanding, original writing published in the UK, is:
- Island Song by Madeleine Bunting (Granta)
- The Rapture by Claire McGlasson (Faber)
- salt slow by Julia Armfield (Picador)
- Show Them a Good Time by Nicole Flattery (Stinging Fly/Bloomsbury)
- You Will Be Safe Here by Damian Barr (Bloomsbury)
Chaired by Matthew Scott, co-editor of The London Magazine, the panel of judges comprises literary critics Houman Barekat, Suzi Feay, and Mia Levitin. The London Magazine also thanks DeHavilland, its new sponsor (formerly the Collyer Bristow Prize for Debut Fiction), for its generosity and support.
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