CHILD 44 BY Tom Rob Smith is the William Hill 1/2 favourite to win the inaugural Desmond Elliott Prize, worth £10,000. Published in the UK by Simon & Schuster, it has appeared in 22 countries - though the novel, about a Stalin-era serial killer, is banned in Russia. Three film offers are on the table, including one from Ridley Scott. The other novels in contention are Gifted by Nikita Lalwani (Viking), with odds of 2/1, and Sunday at the Cross Bones by John Walsh (Fourth Estate), which is 3/1.According to the Desmond Elliott Prize website:
The Desmond Elliott Prize is a new biennial prize for a first novel written in English and published in the UK. Worth £10,000 to the winner, the prize is named after the literary agent and publisher, Desmond Elliott.Child 44 is the only crime novel of the three and is reviewed on Euro Crime here.
Charismatic, witty, and waspish, Elliott lived his life with sparkle. He drank only champagne, always crossed the Atlantic on Concorde and lunched at Fortnum and Mason. His office was in Mayfair and he had houses in St James’s and on Park Avenue. Desmond Elliott’s ethos to support new writers will live on in the shape of the prize.
When choosing the winner, a panel of 3 judges will look for a novel which creates a “buzz”, a book with “word of mouth” appeal. In addition, the judges will look for the following qualities:
* a novel which is a page-turner but which makes you pause for thought
* an intelligent book with broad appeal