The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty has been selected for the shortlist for the inaugural Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize, an award for exceptional first novels, voted for by our booksellers. Celebrating debut fiction in all its forms, the prize highlights the importance of discovering and championing new talent and acts as an extension of the alchemy of bookseller word-of-mouth recommendation.
The £5,000 award is voted for by Waterstones booksellers. A winner is announced at an evening ceremony on 25th August and will receive the backing of all Waterstones shops and the retailer’s website.
Waterstones said The Rabbit Hutch ‘deals with the care system, urbanisation, poverty, and gentrification but mainly, it’s a book about one girl’s coming of age with the odds stacked against her and finding family and community in the unlikeliest of places. Booksellers were blown away.’
Matt from Waterstones.com said ‘I haven’t read anything like The Rabbit Hutch in a very long time, and I was completely gripped after the first page and a half. It is bold, inventive, disturbing and would make a deserving winner among a truly exceptional shortlist. I have very high hopes for this book and Tess Gunty.’
Bea Carvalho, Waterstones head of fiction, commented: “For the Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize’s inaugural year our booksellers have chosen an extraordinary shortlist of bold and original new voices. The exceptional quality of submissions signifies a bright and exciting future for fiction, and our six finalists represent the dazzling scope of storytelling talent amongst this new generation of novelists.’