Wednesday, January 18, 2023

The Return of Faraz Ali, by Aamina Ahmed

On Monday night I attended the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards 2023, having run the team behind the First Novel Award. Huge congratulations to Aamina Ahmed, who won for her brilliant novel The Return of Faraz Ali.

A police officer is sent to Lahore to cover up the murder of a young girl, and in doing so stirs up all kinds of history — some personal, some family, some national... We were spellbound by this haunting, tragic and beautifully told story.

Also shortlisted for the award were Braver by Deborah Jenkins -

Hazel, suffering from anxiety and OCD, forms an unlikely friendship with Harry, a troubled teen, and Virginia — a church minister facing a crisis. This warm, funny novel is also inspiring and very moving. A delight to read.

- and An Olive Grove in Ends by Moses McKenzie:

Sayon dreams of escaping the “Ends” in Bristol and living in the big house his Mum once pointed out to him — but achieving his dream won’t be easy as he’s just killed someone. A gripping, richly told thriller full of life and character.

And there were lots and lots of very good novels which sadly didn't make the shortlist. Thanks to everyone who submitted novels to the award, and thanks to my amazing fellow judges (Martin Day, Tim Glencross, Merle Nygate, Qaisra Shahraz and Ceriann Taylor) for their hard graft in reading so many books in such a short space of time last year.

No comments: