Previous Winners

Grace McCleen was announced at the winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2012 on Thursday 28 June for her novel The Land of Decoration. Speaking about the prize Grace McCleen said: ‘It was completely unexpected and I am so happy and proud that you chose my book. I have my big book to finish so the money could not have come at a better time – and it is so appreciated.’


Anjali Joseph was named on Thursday 23 June 2011 as the winner of the £10,000 Desmond Elliott Prize 2011 for Saraswati Park, published by Fourth Estate. Joseph’s portrayal of modern-day India was selected for its enchanting narrative and assured style.

Edward Stourton, Chair of Judges, commented, “We were united in our admiration for Saraswati Park, which we found utterly absorbing and faultlessly written. The characters are beautifully rendered, and their lives, with their ambitions and regrets, stay with you long after you have closed the last page. Anjali Joseph’s skills as a novelist are humbling.”


On Wednesday, 23 June 2010, Ali Shaw was named the winner of the £10,000 Desmond Elliott Prize 2010 for The Girl with Glass Feet, published by Atlantic Books. Elizabeth Buchan, Chair of the Judges, commented, “After some soul searching and much debate, we decided on The Girl with Glass Feet as our winner. This is an extraordinary first novel – bold, original, tragic and endlessly surprising. In its exploration of frozen landscapes, both interior and exterior, and in its precisely detailed and articulated fantasy, it is possible to see a substantial author of the future.”


On 24th June 2009, Edward Hogan was named the winner of the £10,000 Desmond Elliott Prize 2009 for Blackmoor, published by Simon & Schuster.

Edward Hogan was born in Derby in 1980. He is a graduate of the MA in creative writing course at the University of East Anglia and a recipient of the David Higham Award in 2003. Blackmoor was on the shortlist for the 2008 Dylan Thomas Prize. He was shortlisted for the 2009 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. He lives in Brighton.

‘There’s a subtle magic to Hogan’s prose, and a passionate concern for the part of the world where this novel is based, which invites comparison with D H Lawrence – but that would be lazy. This novel … has confidence, mystery and an entrancing sense of itself.’ The Independent on Sunday


The inaugural £10,000 Desmond Elliott Prize 2008 was awarded on the 26th June 2008 to Nikita Lalwani for Gifted, a story about a maths prodigy growing up in 1980s Cardiff, published by Penguin Books.

Nikita Lalwani was born in Kota, Rajasthan in 1973 and raised in Cardiff. Gifted is her first novel and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2007 and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2007and the Glen Dimplex Fiction Award 2007.

Gifted was written in 18 months and Nikita received responses from potential agents within two days of looking.  The Bookseller cited the book as “one of the most coveted British fiction debuts of the year”. Nikita lives in London with her husband and child.