It’s that time again to discover another dazzling debut, thanks to our Desmond Elliott Prize alumni. Today we hear from journalist and editor Katy Guest.
“When I judged the Desmond Elliott Prize in 2016, the question was sprung on me: what is your favourite debut ever? At the time we were all still talking about Harper Lee, whose second novel (or first, or not at all), Go Set a Watchman, had recently been published, so I cast my vote for To Kill a Mockingbird.
Two years later and having had time to consider, To Kill a Mockingbird is still my favourite debut – one that jangles in my memory continually. This summer makes me think of gravy and molasses and oppressive heat; a colleague’s red and white stripy dress, the schoolteacher who looked like a peppermint drop. Cruelty and oppression (and there’s a lot of it about) make me wonder, what would Atticus do?
I will read it again this summer, and be fired up again by passion and justice and scabby knees. Scout Finch is a perfect 21st-century role model, and To Kill a Mockingbird not just a great debut but one of my favourite books of all time.“
Find her on Twitter @katyguest36912