After the Fire, a Still Small Voice is the winner of the 2009 John Llewellyn Rhys prize, which was announced towards the end of last year. Louise Doughty, Chair of Judges, described the Evie Wyld‘s novel as:
‘A sometimes poignant, sometimes comic story of a father and son who have so much in common but never quite connect, it is awash with fine images that linger in the mind. Wyld’s choice of subject matter is both brave and wide-ranging, from the wars in Korea and Vietnam to the back country of Eastern Australia, Wyld captures the inflections of male speech and male bonding in a way that feels both acute and realistic. Most importantly, she writes brilliantly, able to paint a picture or create a convincing encounter with a few deft, evocative strokes, in a prose style worthy of our very best writers. There is nothing ‘first novelish’ about this first novel. It’s a fantastically mature book, never showy, a slow burn that drags the reader in.’
The 29 year old author, who works in a Peckham bookshop, was born in England and resides in London, though she spent a significant part of her youth living on her family’s farm in New South Wales, where her novel is set.
In winning the prize, Wyld saw off some stiff competition; other short-listed authors included previous Booker Prize winner Aravind Adiga, with his second novel Between the Assassinations, and previous Orange Prize winner Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie with her collection of short stories: The Thing Around Your Neck.
The John Llewellyn Rhys prize was founded 66 years ago in honour of the writer John Llewellyn Rhys, who was killed in action in World War II. His wife, also a writer, began the award to honour and celebrate his life. The prize is awarded to the best work of literature – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama- of a UK or commonwealth writer aged 35 or under.
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