Black Londoner and writer, Yvette Edwards has become one of four debut authors included in the long-list for this years Man Booker Prize. Edwards has been nominated for her novel, A Cupboard Full of Coats, and joins the likes of past winner Alan Hollinghurst as a nominee. Edwards has expressed her shock at finding out there were no white characters in her book when she met her agent, but insists this was not a conscious decision, but more a reflection of the way the story had built on a real-life event, and she had whittled down the cast of her novel from a ‘truly racial-mix’ that wasn’t working, to one where only the essential players were present.
The writer says, “A Cupboard Full of Coats does not concern itself with the politics of power, or racism, or black British history. It is a novel that transcends race and culture, a story about the ‘human’ experience, one that any human being can identify with. My aim was to tell a riveting tale, to write the kind of book I love to read, one that maybe teaches the reader something they never knew before, that would be thought-provoking and impossible to put down. The colour of my characters was never an issue. On auto-pilot, I crafted characters from an established community of Londoners who are generally under-represented in English literature, a community I am part of and know well.”
The long-list of 13 will be further diminished to a shortlist of just six by 6th September, with each shortlisted author winning £2,500 and a designer bound edition of the book. The winner of the £50,000 annual prize will then be announced on 18th October. Good luck Yvette!