The countdown for the Guardian First Book Award begins today with a longlist which is the most diverse yet in ethnic origin and theme. The 10 authors come from Iran, Thailand, India, Malaysia, the US, Kent, Oxford, Neasden, Doncaster and Co Tyrone. Four of the 10 books have done well in other prize contests. 26A, Diana Evans’ novel about twins growing up in a semi-secret world within a divided London household, won this year’s first £10,000 Orange international award for new writing.
Stuart: a Life Backwards, a biography of and elegy for a chronically disruptive street vagrant who killed himself while Alexander Masters was writing the book, was shortlisted for the £30,000 Samuel Johnson non-fiction award.
Shortlisted for the same prize was Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, described by another author as “unquestionably one of the most memorable non-fiction books to come out of India for many years”.
Photograph: Diana Evans, one of the longlisted authors, has already won the Orange award for new writing for her novel, 26A. Photo: Charles Hopkinson