At the end of last month I agreed to help promote the inaugural Barbellion Prize by reviewing its shortlist. I wrote about this here. All I initially knew about the books selected were their titles and the aims of the prize. I trusted that the judges would choose books worth reading – this proved a good call.
This year all shortlisted books were memoirs. It quickly became clear that each was structured differently, reflecting the authors’ skills – including use of language.
Most were beautifully written, a pleasure to read. Experiences were not mined for misery – to garner sympathy – but rather to help raise awareness of issues faced.
Over the past couple of weekends I have posted my thoughts on each book. Below are links to my reviews.
- Golem Girl by Riva Lehrer, published by Virago
- The Fragments of My Father by Sam Mills, published by 4th Estate
- Sanatorium by Abi Palmer, published by Penned in the Margins
- Kika & Me by Amit Patel, published by Pan MacMillan
On 12th February, Golem Girl was announced as the winner of the prize. I have no quibbles with the judges’ choice – plus the amazing artwork by the author complemented the text perfectly. My personal favourite was probably Sanatorium, for its lyricism, but the list was so strong there was no disappointment at the outcome.
I was not the only book blogger approached to review the shortlist. If you would like to find out what other readers thought of these titles, check out the following blogs.
My thanks to the Barbellion Prize for arranging with the publishers for me to be sent copies of the four shortlisted books. I feel privileged to have been involved.