This year's longlist is particularly star-studded, with two Man Booker longlistees (Joseph O’Neill and Whitbread winner Mark Haddon), two Guardian first book award-winners (Yiyun Li and Colin Barrett), and two Costa finalists (Erin Soros and Louise Doughty). Also David Peace.
The winner will receive £30,000, and the five other shortlisted writers will each receive £1,000. The shortlist will be announced in The Sunday Times on 1 March. The winner will be announced at a gala dinner at Stationer’s Hall in London on Friday 24 April.
The prize is judged by novelist Aminatta Forna, theatre director Sir Richard Eyre, critic and broadcaster Alex Clark and internationally acclaimed Turkish novelist, columnist and speaker Elif Shafak. Completing the line-up are Andrew Holgate, Literary Editor of The Sunday Times, and Lord Matthew Evans, co-founder of the Award (non-voting Chair of Judges).
Ms Forna references the story in a quote to The Sunday Times:
It’s been a hugely enjoyable experience so far. There is a pleasing breadth of subject matter from the adventures of a Nigerian political ingenue to the child who imagines she can talk to spiders. What’s more, and deeply important to me as a judge, these imaginative and often ambitious stories are crafted out of the most gorgeous prose.
"The Spiders of Stockholm" and its many arachnid-free competitors are all available to read online with a Times+ subscription. You can also find the story in Irregularity, available in paperback and ebook on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and Kobo.