Lancaster University English and Creative Writing graduate 27-year-old Daisy Johnson made it through to the finals of the Man Booker prize for fiction.
She is the youngest person to be shortlisted but was pipped at the post by Anna Burns from Northern Ireland whose novel, ‘Milkman’, was announced as the winner last night at a ceremony at London’s Guildhall.
Dean of Lancaster University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Professor Simon Guy said: “We are delighted and very proud that Daisy Johnson was shortlisted for the Booker prize which is an incredible achievement and a great recognition for her extraordinary work.
“Lancaster University has an outstanding record for creative writing, recently rated the best in the UK by the Times and Sunday Times Good University guide, and this will further cement the reputation Lancaster has for championing serious literary talent.”
Daisy’s writing career started in remarkable fashion when her debut novel ‘Everything Under’ was published in June, to critical acclaim.
Within a month it was on the Booker long-list, and then in September she made the shortlist for the country’s most prestigious literary award.
It was one of six novels considered, with the winner announced at last night’s ceremony.
Daisy grew up near Safron Walden, Essex, and after completing her degree at Lancaster (Grizedale 2012) went on to study for an MA in Creative Writing at Oxford.
“I wouldn’t be able to be the writer I am if I hadn’t studied it for a long time and learnt to be edited,” she told The Times.
Everything Under – four years in the making – follows on from a collection of short stories, Fen, published last year and winner of the £10,000 Edge Hill Short Story prize. It brings classical Greek myth to the Oxford waterways, for a tale of a daughter’s search for the mother who abandoned her.
Speaking to The Times, she said of the work: “I had a grim pleasure from the idea of taking something so horrible and seeing what I could do with it.”
First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is recognised as the leading award for quality literary fiction written in English.
Its list of winners includes many of the giants of the last five decades, from Salman Rushdie to Margaret Atwood, Iris Murdoch to JM Coetzee.