The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award 2021 Winner

It is our great pleasure to confirm Cal Flyn as the winner of the Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Trust Young Writer of the Year Award 2021 for Islands of Abandonment.

Brimming with insight and delivered in sparkling, riveting prose, Flyn’s extraordinary book explores some of the most deserted, ravaged and polluted places around the world, offering at once a haunting tour of exclusion zones caused by human crises and a redemptive story of nature's capacity to adapt and renew.

 

‘We all fell hard for this book: the originality of thinking, the intellectual rigor, the love for all that is gone and yet not entirely lost, and of course the sheer magic of the prose. Cal Flyn finds sublime beauty in the most unlikely of places, and, in doing so, gives us all reason to hope that our planet may yet be saved. You cannot ask for a better reason to read.’

TAHMIMA ANAM,Judge

The Shortlist

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Both quietly heartbreaking and suffused with a sense of wonder, Beecher’s beautifully crafted novel of family, loss and mourning is an evocative and profound meditation on the unexpectedness of life and the miracle of love.
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A haunting journey through the world’s abandoned places, Flyn’s wide-ranging and reflective meditation on how nature continues in humanity’s absence is an eerie yet ultimately optimistic account of ecological diversity.
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Exciting and accessible at the same time as being formally brave and lyrically skilful, Rachel Long’s debut collection skewers sexual politics and vexed notions of identity with wit, warmth and precision.
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A tender and emotionally complex debut about the relationship between two young Black British artists, Open Water shines a light on the ways love and race can be interlinked in modern society.
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A blisteringly beautiful and raw portrait of vulnerability and destruction brought about by desire, Acts of Desperation announces the arrival of an exciting new voice in fiction.
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