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The Rabbit Hutch wins the Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize

30th August, 2022

Tess Gunty has won the inaugural £5,000 Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize for her book The Rabbit Hutch.

Gunty was named the winner at an evening ceremony at the Waterstones flagship store in London Piccadilly on 25th August.

Having grown up in a Rust Belt town, Gunty was inspired to write The Rabbit Hutch because she had never seen a city like hers represented in fiction. She said: “As I grew up, this seemed like a good reason to set my writing—unapologetically, ecstatically—in the post-industrial Midwest. Enraged by the structural mistreatment that generated so much needless violence and desperation, I began to realise that the story of my town was the story of countless towns across the Midwest, across America, across the world.”

The new Waterstones prize was launched in 2022 and is voted for by the chain’s booksellers.


Bea Carvalho, Waterstones head of fiction, said: “We are delighted to announce Tess Gunty as the inaugural winner of the Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize. The Rabbit Hutch truly has the feel of the next great American novel: it is an exquisite, triumphant book which at once recalls the very best of the contemporary canon while remaining fiercely original and innovative.

“Gunty has written an astonishingly moving, important dissection of gentrification, urbanisation and the care system, tackling serious topics with warmth and wit. Above all, it is a true page-turning delight to read, reread and recommend. Booksellers were blown away by Gunty’s playfulness, her boundless compassion and vast emotional intellect: this is boundary-pushing, daring fiction and we are hugely excited to see what this talented author does next.”

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