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Tale about Norfolk childhood in a commune shortlisted for best debut novel of the year

PUBLISHED: 11:56 11 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:56 11 May 2019

Anna Mackmin with the fiction prize in the East Anglian Book Awards 2018, for her book Devoured. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Anna Mackmin with the fiction prize in the East Anglian Book Awards 2018, for her book Devoured. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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A vivid semi-autobiographical tale of a girl growing up in a commune in Norfolk is in with a chance of being named the year’s best debut novel.

Devoured, by Anna Mackmin, is in the running to win the £10,000 prize and win the Desmond Elliot Prize, alongside Golden Child by Claire Adam, and Hold by Michael Donkor.

The prize, named after the literary agent and publisher Desmond Elliott, is an annual award for a first novel written in English and published in the UK.

All three titles explore the theme of how innocence can be lost following the realisation that long-accepted beliefs about the world might not be true.

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Ms Mackmin grew up in Tuttington, near Aylsham in a ramshackle house. Her mother was a potter, her father a poet and they opened their home to a succession of writers, artists, dreamers and drifters.

MORE: Book review: Devoured by Anna Mackmin

Her novel, released last year, was inspired by that Norfolk childhood.

Devoured tells the story of a girl and her sister, growing up with their potter mother and poet father and a house full of writers, artists, dreamers, drifters and predators in a tiny Norfolk village in the 1970s.

It is a novel, not an autobiography, but many features of Anna's childhood reappear in the book.

The winner will be revealed at a ceremony at Fortnum and Mason on June 19, where they will be presented with a cheque for £10,000.


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