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UEA alumni among 20 best young British novelists

Wed, 17 Apr 2013

Two graduates of the University of East Anglia's world-renowned creative writing programme have been named in Granta magazine's list of the 20 best young British novelists under the age of 40.

Naomi Alderman

The one-a-decade list, published this week, includes Naomi Alderman, who graduated from the MA in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction) in 2003, and Adam Foulds, who completed the MA in Creative Writing (Poetry) in 2000. Graduates from UEA have been named in each list since Granta published the first one in 1983.

Alderman’s first novel, ‘Disobedience' (2006) won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award and the Orange Broadband Prize for New Writers.  Her second novel ‘The Lessons' (2010) was serialised for BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime and her third, ‘The Liars' Gospel', was published last year, when she was also selected by the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative to be mentored for one year by Margaret Atwood. 

Foulds published his first novel, ‘The Truth About These Strange Times’, in 2007, winning a Betty Trask Award and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. His verse novella, ‘The Broken Word’ (2008) won the Costa Poetry Award, the Jerwood Aldeburgh Prize and a Somerset Maugham Award. His most recent novel, ‘The Quickening Maze’, was shortlisted for the inaugural Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction and for the 2009 Man Booker Prize, and was the winner of the Encore Award, the South Bank Show literature prize and the European Union Prize for Literature. 

Prof Andrew Cowan, director of creative writing at UEA, said: “Adam and Naomi are two of the most accomplished young writers to have emerged from our programme in recent years and fully deserve this latest accolade.  We’re delighted too that this continues the tradition of UEA being represented in each of the Granta lists.”

Many of the Granta’s 1983 list have become household names, such as Martin Amis, William Boyd and Salman Rushdie, and UEA graduates Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan and Rose Tremain, who has been appointed as the university’s new chancellor.  

The judges for 2013 were Granta editor John Freeman, deputy editor Ellah Allfrey, author Romesh Gunesekera, Stuart Kelly, literary editor of Scotland on Sunday, author and comedian AL Kennedy, Granta publisher Sigrid Rausing and Gaby Wood, head of books at the Telegraph.

The UEA’s world-renowned creative writing MA was founded in 1970-71 and was the first course of its kind in the UK. It has aided the careers of many contemporary authors and counts Booker Prize-winners among its alumni.

The creative writing programme was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education in 2012 - the UK’s most prestigious higher education award, given to those who can demonstrate outstanding work at a world-class level.

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