Kerry Hudson’s second novel, THIRST, published by Editions Philippe Rey in France, and translated by Florence Levy-Paolini, has won the prestigious Prix Femina Etranger 2015, in an awards ceremony, today, in Paris.
This major French literary prize was created in 1904 and is judged each year by an exclusively female jury. Kerry finds herself in excellent company amongst past winners, who include Edward Saint Aubyn, Joyce Carol Oates, Ian McEwan, Amos Oz and J. M. Coetzee.
Since its publication(s), THIRST has gained great European attention: in the UK Kerry was chosen by retailer WH Smith for their Fresh Talent promotion; in France, LA COULEUR DE L’EAU has been receiving stunning reviews and has been picked out across the media as a highlight of the 2015 ‘Rentree Litteraire’. The first chapter of the novel appeared in July on Le Bien Public, and the novel was reviewed and mentioned by the main French cultural papers, from Le Parisienne to La Montagne. In Italy, SETE has been a favourite with booksellers, and again received some fantastic reviews.
Liberation says: ‘With her beautiful first novel last year, Kerry Hudson is back on top form with THIRST’
Femme Actuelle says: ‘A wonderful book, as brilliant as it is moving’
THIRST is a contemporary love story from Scottish First Book Award winner Kerry Hudson. It was published in 2014 by Chatto, and translated into French (Editions Philippe Rey) and Italian (Minimum Fax).
Alena and Dave are both on the run from disaster, and meet during a London heatwave to begin a love affair as dark, joyful and frenetic as the city itself. Dave, who has built a carefully controlled world of self-denial and isolation, is drawn to Alena's passion for life, while Alena discovers that sex can be more than a transaction and that love and safety are priceless commodities. But a relationship founded on secrets is easily shattered, and when Alena's ex-lover arrives, threatening to expose her, Alena flees. By the time Dave overcomes his mistrust about Alena and her past, and follows her into the bitter Russian winter, he can only hope he's not too late to convince her that just as spring will come, second and even third chances can always be found. THIRST is a heart-breaking romance of almost unbearable fragility based in contemporary East London and rural Russia.
Born in Aberdeen, Kerry Hudson grew up in a succession of council estates, B&Bs and caravan parks which provided her with a keen eye for idiosyncratic behaviour, material for life, and a love of travel. She was chosen as a Bookseller Rising Star 2014 for her work on the WoMentoring project. She currently divides her writing time and affections between Hackney and Hanoi, and is working on her third novel.
Praise for THIRST:
‘Explores the lives of people not generally considered fit for literature and does so with wit and a shrewdness that makes Hudson's subjects zing from the page.’ – Guardian
'Tremendously affecting… impressively unostentatious' – Metro
‘Heart-wrenching without being maudlin, THIRST is a novel about the scraps of hope that people find when they’re completely out of options… Hudson has an eye for detail and her meticulous research shows without bogging down the narrative. There are villains, but no obvious heroes. It’s a bleak outlook, but Hudson makes it beautiful.’ – The Independent