Thrilled to see that Evie Wyld has won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for her debut novel, After the Fire, a Still Small Voice. The prize is awarded annually for the best work of literature by a Commonwealth writer aged 35 or under, written in English and published in the UK.
She’s following in the steps of some wonderful writers. One of my favourite authors, Elizabeth Jane Howard, won in 1952 for her debut novel The Beautiful Visit, and other winners have included V.S.Naipul, Margaret Drabble, A.N.Wilson (twice) & David Hare.
The prize was set up in 1942 by Jane Oliver in memory of her husband John Llewellyn Rhys, a young author who was killed on 5 August 1940 while serving as a bomber pilot in the Royal Air Force.
I wrote about Evie’s book on LLG, a few months ago after attending her US launch party. It’s an extraordinary piece of fiction, about which I think often. Set in Eastern Australia, it’s the more remarkable for being a story written about men, their behaviour and the emotions they can’t express. Dealing with the mental inheritance of war through three generations, her voice is quietly confident, compassionate and wholly convincing, transporting the reader into an uncomfortable, edgy world that holds one rapt. I highly recommend it.