Gladstone’s Library 2019 Writers in Residence shortlist announced!

Gladstone’s Library 2019 Writers in Residence shortlist announced!

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We are delighted to today reveal the names of the 13 writers shortlisted for our prestigious Writers in Residence award for 2019.

Now into its eighth year, our successful Writers in Residence programme was established in association with Damian Barr (saloniere and author of Maggie and Me) to support contemporary novelists and poets.

The shortlist is made up of novels, poetry and creative non-fiction that, in the eyes of the panel of judges of authors, industry experts and members of the Gladstone’s Library team, represent some of the most creative contemporary writing.

This year’s submissions were drawn from a pool of entries from around the world. To qualify for consideration, all applicants had to submit a book published in the last three years as well as a 250-word statement on liberal values (for, against, ambivalent, or deconstructive) as well as proposals for a day masterclass and an evening event. The strength of all were taken into consideration when drawing up the shortlist.

The 13 shortlisted titles for 2019 are:

  • Abi Andrews, The Word for Woman is Wilderness (Serpent’s Tale, 2018)
  • Tara Bergin, The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx (Carcanet, 2017)
  • Emma Darwin, This is Not a Book About Charles Darwin (Holland House Books, 2019)
  • Sarah Day, Mussolini’s Island (Headline Publishing, 2017)
  • Oliver Emanuel, The 306: Day (National Theatre of Scotland, 2017)
  • Suzannah Evans, Near Future (Nine Arches Press, October 2018)
  • Susanna Forrest, The Age of the Horse (Atlantic Books, 2016)
  • Guy Gunaratne, In Our Mad and Furious City (Headline Publishing, 2018)
  • Caoilinn Hughes, Orchid and the Wasp (Oneworld, 2018)
  • Sophie Mackintosh, The Water Cure (Penguin, 2018)
  • Emily Morris, My Shitty Twenties (Salt, 2017)
  • Sadhana Naithani, Elephantine (Postbox Press, 2016)
  • Jacqueline Saphra, A Bargain with the Light (Hercules Editions, 2017)

Four of these authors will be awarded a month’s residency at Gladstone’s Library, a creative community that is open to the public and based in the world’s only residential library. Previous winners have included Naomi Alderman (The Power), Peter Moore (The Weather Experiment), Keggie Carew (Dadland), Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (Harmless Like You), Amy Liptrot (The Outrun), Melissa Harrison (At Hawthorn Time) and Sarah Perry (The Essex Serpent).

Louisa Yates, Director of Collections and Research at Gladstone’s Library said:

‘We have tried to embed variety and diversity into the shortlist, not just in terms of the author or the topic of their book, but in publication date, stage of career (type of career, too) and publisher.’

Peter Francis, Warden of Gladstone’s Library said:

‘This year the range and quality of applications has been outstanding, and it’s been harder than ever to draw up a shortlist. We are, as ever, very grateful to Joanna Munro who sponsors our Writers in Residence programme which each year offers residencies to some wonderful poets and novelists.’

This year’s judging panel consists of Senior Strategy Director at FutureBrand and Trustee of Gladstone’s Library, Freddie Baveystock; writer and editor William Atkins (The Moor); poet Jenny Lewis (Gilgamesh Retold, Carcanet Press, 2018); writer and journalist Patrice Lawrence (Orangeboy); Peter Francis, Warden of Gladstone’s Library; and Director of Collections and Research at Gladstone’s Library, Louisa Yates. 

Judging takes place in early August; the winners will be announced at the Gladfest 2018 launch on Friday, 7th September; and the programme will be officially launched on Monday, 8th October at the National Liberal Club in London when the four winning authors will read from their work. Tickets for this Writers in Residence 2019 launch event are priced at £10. To register your interest, please call 01244 532350 or email Please note, the dress code for this event is smart – jacket and tie for men and no t-shirts or vests for women. No jeans will be permitted. 


Jacqueline Saphra (A Bargain with the Light): 'I'm proud and honoured to be included amongst so many writers I admire on the shortlist for this increasingly coveted residency. It would be a dream fulfilled to be able to spend a whole month living and working amongst the books and readers in Gladstone’s Library but I know the competition is fabulous and fierce!’

Emma Darwin (This is Not a Book About Charles Darwin): ‘The opportunity for a month’s writer’s residency, free of domestic distractions and inhabiting a great tradition and a library of great books, seems almost too good to be true - but thanks to the Gladstone Library it is true.’

Sarah Day (Mussolini’s Island): 'I'm really thrilled to be part of this amazing list. I took several trips to Gladstone's Library when I was drafting Mussolini's Island, so it would be wonderful to have the opportunity to return as a Writer in Residence.'

Emily Morris (My Shitty Twenties): ‘It's an absolute honour to be on this wonderful shortlist alongside such talented authors; Gladstone's Library is a truly magical place and a residency there would be a dream come true. Whatever happens next though, I am thrilled to have made it this far.’