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‘Sweet Fruit, Sour Land’ wins 2018 Not the Booker Prize; judges overrule public vote

Sweet Fruit, Sour Land (Sandstone Press), by London-based author Rebecca Ley, has won the Guardian’s 2018 Not the Booker Prize.

Judges overruled the public vote, which showed Ariel Kahn’s Raising Sparks (Bluemoose Books) to be the public favourite, saying that they ‘felt that Kahn’s novel, for all its virtues, relied too much on coincidence, contained too much exposition and didn’t quite realise its attempts at magical realism’.

Kahn’s novel follows a young woman who flees from her traditional family in Jerusalem and falls in with a sinister cult.

Ley’s novel was preferred by the judges for its ‘stark poetry and sincerity’. Judges also noted that ‘this novel rewarded rereading more than others on the list’.

Set in a dystopian London destroyed by famine and shortages of material goods, Sweet Fruit, Sour Land is about a dressmaker drawn into the only surviving circle of luxury left in the city.

Sweet Fruit, Sour Land was chosen from a shortlist of five, which included Perth-based author Dervla McTiernan’s debut, The Ruin (HarperCollins).

The winner of the award, which has the same criteria as the Man Booker Prize, will receive a Guardian coffee mug.

As previously reported by Books+Publishing, UK-based Taiwanese-American writer Winnie M Li won the Guardian’s 2017 Not the Booker Prize for her debut novel Dark Chapter (Legend Press).

 

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