THE LAST PILOT WINS THE AUTHORS CLUB BEST FIRST NOVEL AWARD

THE LAST PILOT, US Cover, Picador.jpg

Benjamin Johncock’s compelling debut THE LAST PILOT has won The Authors' Club Best First Novel Award. The prize is for the debut novel of a British, Irish or UK-based author, first published in the UK. This is the 62nd year of the prize, and  past winners include Jack Wolf, Ros Barber and Carys Bray

Anthony Quinn, head judge and a former winner of the prize for The Rescue Man (Vintage) in 2009, said: “The Last Pilot is a memorable achievement, and a hugely deserving winner of this prize.” He further commended the novel for “its disciplined craftsmanship, its immersion in an historical era, and its profound engagement with human loss”.

THE LAST PILOT was published in July 2015 both in the UK (Myriad Books) and in the US (Picador), assembling an enthusiastic following with a rave review in The Washington Post, who say ‘the effect is supercharged Hemingway at 70,000 feet’; People magazine call it ‘ingeniously plotted, deftly written and engrossing,’ and Jane Ciabattari from BBC Culture says ‘Johncock is superb at crafting suspenseful scenes’. Mail on Sunday also praised THE LAST PILOT, ‘a remarkably accomplished debut'. It has been selected as Amazon’s Best Book of July 2015, shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Awards 2015, chosen as a Barnes & Noble’s 2015 Discover Great New Writers Pick and one of SJ Watson’s Best Summer Reads for The Independent. There's a full list of his many and incredible reviews on Ben's blog. The paperback was published in the US on 3rd May 2016.

Early October, 1947, Jim Harrison is a test pilot in the United States Air Force, flying flimsy aircraft high above the Mojave desert. When a terrible tragedy befalls his young family, Harrison's life grinds to a halt - so when he's offered a ticket to the moon, he takes it, and joins NASA's new training programme. Set against the backdrop of one of the most emotionally-charged periods in modern history, THE LAST PILOT is a mesmerising story of loss and finding courage in the face of it.

Benjamin Johncock was born in England in 1978. His short stories have been published by The Fiction Desk and The Junket. He is the recipient of an Arts Council England grant and the American Literary Merit Award, and is a winner of Comma Press's National Short Story Day competition. He also writes for the Guardian. He lives in Norwich, England, with his wife, his daughter, and his son.

Praise for THE LAST PILOT

‘The dense layering of real events, seriously technical language and sustained US vernacular makes for a big, muscular novel, but this is tenderly undercut by the quite different theme of a marriage and a family under unbearable stress... A cowboy in a silver suit he may be, but Jim Harrison’s descent into hell is convincing and moving.’ – Jane Housham, Guardian

‘Jim’s story is fascinating, and the author writes with a strong ear for dialogue, which rattles the pages with intensity. A marvellous, emotionally powerful novel.’ – Publishers Weekly

‘Benjamin Johncock has written one of the most American novels of the year … With remarkable accuracy, capturing the emotional weight of a time in history … The story is well paced and chock full of an array of inspirational characters … exuberant life beaming from the gorgeous prose. Johncock follows in the footsteps of the impressive list of writers that have been capable of creating lifelike dialogue by eliminating quotation marks and a large amount of tags in what is often pages of back forth between its characters. … reminiscent of the great Cormac McCarthy … The exposition is packed with detail, word choices and sentence structures that add up to equal a distinct and unique new voice in fiction … shows the careful and precise guidance of the authorial voice that can be trusted fully and wholeheartedly. Johncock writes paragraphs that are often only seen by master craftsman with many books already to their name … This debut novel is undoubtedly one of the most authentic pieces of fiction set in America in years.’ – Steven Petite, The Huffington Post

Visit Benjamin’s website and follow him on Twitter.

THE LAST PILOT selected to be part of brave new reads 2016

We are thrilled to announce that THE LAST PILOT has been selected to be part of Brave New Reads 2016, a unique reading programme taking place in libraries and bookshops across East Anglia. Anneliese Mackintosh's ANY OTHER MOUTH was shortlisted last year, among other wonderful books! Chosen by readers, for readers, from a longlist of over 120 books, the six Brave New Reads titles come highly recommended and help to inspire a new kind of reading. Find out more at www.bravenewreads.org.uk.   

THE LAST PILOT was published in July 2015 both in the UK (Myriad Books) and in the US (Picador), assembling an enthusiastic following with a rave review in The Washington Post, who say ‘the effect is supercharged Hemingway at 70,000 feet’; People magazine call it ‘ingeniously plotted, deftly written and engrossing,’ and Jane Ciabattari from BBC Culture says ‘Johncock is superb at crafting suspenseful scenes’. Mail on Sunday also praised THE LAST PILOT, ‘a remarkably accomplished debut'. It has been selected as Amazon’s Best Book of July 2015, shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Awards 2015, chosen as a Barnes & Noble’s 2015 Discover Great New Writers Pick and one of SJ Watson’s Best Summer Reads for The Independent. There's a full list of his many and incredible reviews on Ben's blog. The paperback will be published in the US on 3rd May 2016.

Early October, 1947, Jim Harrison is a test pilot in the United States Air Force, flying flimsy aircraft high above the Mojave desert. When a terrible tragedy befalls his young family, Harrison's life grinds to a halt - so when he's offered a ticket to the moon, he takes it, and joins NASA's new training programme. Set against the backdrop of one of the most emotionally-charged periods in modern history, THE LAST PILOT is a mesmerising story of loss and finding courage in the face of it.

Benjamin Johncock was born in England in 1978. His short stories have been published by The Fiction Desk and The Junket. He is the recipient of an Arts Council England grant and the American Literary Merit Award, and is a winner of Comma Press's National Short Story Day competition. He also writes for the Guardian. He lives in Norwich, England, with his wife, his daughter, and his son.

Praise for THE LAST PILOT

‘The dense layering of real events, seriously technical language and sustained US vernacular makes for a big, muscular novel, but this is tenderly undercut by the quite different theme of a marriage and a family under unbearable stress... A cowboy in a silver suit he may be, but Jim Harrison’s descent into hell is convincing and moving.’ – Jane Housham, Guardian

‘Jim’s story is fascinating, and the author writes with a strong ear for dialogue, which rattles the pages with intensity. A marvellous, emotionally powerful novel.’ – Publishers Weekly

‘Benjamin Johncock has written one of the most American novels of the year … With remarkable accuracy, capturing the emotional weight of a time in history … The story is well paced and chock full of an array of inspirational characters … exuberant life beaming from the gorgeous prose. Johncock follows in the footsteps of the impressive list of writers that have been capable of creating lifelike dialogue by eliminating quotation marks and a large amount of tags in what is often pages of back forth between its characters. … reminiscent of the great Cormac McCarthy … The exposition is packed with detail, word choices and sentence structures that add up to equal a distinct and unique new voice in fiction … shows the careful and precise guidance of the authorial voice that can be trusted fully and wholeheartedly. Johncock writes paragraphs that are often only seen by master craftsman with many books already to their name … This debut novel is undoubtedly one of the most authentic pieces of fiction set in America in years.’ – Steven Petite, The Huffington Post

Visit Benjamin’s website and follow him on Twitter.

THE LAST PILOT shortlisted for The Authors Club Best First Novel Award

Benjamin Johncock’s compelling debut THE LAST PILOT has been shortlisted for The Authors Club Best First Novel Award. The prize is for the debut novel of a British, Irish or UK-based author, first published in the UK. This is the 62nd year of the prize. Other shortlisted titles include THE WATCHMAKER OF FILIGREE STREET by Natasha Pulley and THE GOOD SON by Paul McVeigh.

 THE LAST PILOT was published in July 2015 both in the UK (Myriad Books) and in the US (Picador), assembling an enthusiastic following with a rave review in The Washington Post, who say ‘the effect is supercharged Hemingway at 70,000 feet’; People magazine call it ‘ingeniously plotted, deftly written and engrossing,’ and Jane Ciabattari from BBC Culture says ‘Johncock is superb at crafting suspenseful scenes’. Mail on Sunday also praised THE LAST PILOT, ‘a remarkably accomplished debut'. It has been selected as Amazon’s Best Book of July 2015, shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Awards 2015, chosen as a Barnes & Noble’s 2015 Discover Great New Writers Pick and one of SJ Watson’s Best Summer Reads for The Independent. There's a full list of his many and incredible reviews on Ben's blog. The paperback will be published in the US on 3rd May 2016.

Early October, 1947, Jim Harrison is a test pilot in the United States Air Force, flying flimsy aircraft high above the Mojave desert. When a terrible tragedy befalls his young family, Harrison's life grinds to a halt - so when he's offered a ticket to the moon, he takes it, and joins NASA's new training programme. Set against the backdrop of one of the most emotionally-charged periods in modern history, THE LAST PILOT is a mesmerising story of loss and finding courage in the face of it.

Benjamin Johncock was born in England in 1978. His short stories have been published by The Fiction Desk and The Junket. He is the recipient of an Arts Council England grant and the American Literary Merit Award, and is a winner of Comma Press's National Short Story Day competition. He also writes for the Guardian. He lives in Norwich, England, with his wife, his daughter, and his son.

Praise for THE LAST PILOT

‘The dense layering of real events, seriously technical language and sustained US vernacular makes for a big, muscular novel, but this is tenderly undercut by the quite different theme of a marriage and a family under unbearable stress... A cowboy in a silver suit he may be, but Jim Harrison’s descent into hell is convincing and moving.’ – Jane Housham, Guardian

‘Jim’s story is fascinating, and the author writes with a strong ear for dialogue, which rattles the pages with intensity. A marvellous, emotionally powerful novel.’ – Publishers Weekly

‘Benjamin Johncock has written one of the most American novels of the year … With remarkable accuracy, capturing the emotional weight of a time in history … The story is well paced and chock full of an array of inspirational characters … exuberant life beaming from the gorgeous prose. Johncock follows in the footsteps of the impressive list of writers that have been capable of creating lifelike dialogue by eliminating quotation marks and a large amount of tags in what is often pages of back forth between its characters. … reminiscent of the great Cormac McCarthy … The exposition is packed with detail, word choices and sentence structures that add up to equal a distinct and unique new voice in fiction … shows the careful and precise guidance of the authorial voice that can be trusted fully and wholeheartedly. Johncock writes paragraphs that are often only seen by master craftsman with many books already to their name … This debut novel is undoubtedly one of the most authentic pieces of fiction set in America in years.’ – Steven Petite, The Huffington Post

Visit Benjamin’s website and follow him on Twitter.

THE LAST PILOT longlisted for The Authors Club Best First Novel Award

Benjamin Johncock’s compelling debut THE LAST PILOT has been longlisted for The Authors Club Best First Novel Award. The prize is for the debut novel of a British, Irish or UK-based author, first published in the UK.  This is the 62nd year of the prize. Other longlisted titles include THE WATCHMAKER OF FILIGREE STREET by Natasha Pulley, THE LONEY by Andrew Hurley and THE GOOD SON by Paul McVeigh.

 THE LAST PILOT was published in July 2015 both in the UK (Myriad Books) and in the US (Picador), assembling an enthusiastic following with a rave review in The Washington Post, who say ‘the effect is supercharged Hemingway at 70,000 feet’; People magazine call it ‘ingeniously plotted, deftly written and engrossing,’ and Jane Ciabattari from BBC Culture says ‘Johncock is superb at crafting suspenseful scenes’. Mail on Sunday also praised THE LAST PILOT, ‘a remarkably accomplished debut'. It has been selected as Amazon’s Best Book of July 2015, shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Awards 2015, chosen as a Barnes & Noble’s 2015 Discover Great New Writers Pick and one of SJ Watson’s Best Summer Reads for The Independent. There's a full list of his many and incredible reviews on Ben's blog. The paperback will be published in the US on 3rd May 2016.

Early October, 1947, Jim Harrison is a test pilot in the United States Air Force, flying flimsy aircraft high above the Mojave desert. When a terrible tragedy befalls his young family, Harrison's life grinds to a halt - so when he's offered a ticket to the moon, he takes it, and joins NASA's new training programme. Set against the backdrop of one of the most emotionally-charged periods in modern history, THE LAST PILOT is a mesmerising story of loss and finding courage in the face of it.

Benjamin Johncock was born in England in 1978. His short stories have been published by The Fiction Desk and The Junket. He is the recipient of an Arts Council England grant and the American Literary Merit Award, and is a winner of Comma Press's National Short Story Day competition. He also writes for the Guardian. He lives in Norwich, England, with his wife, his daughter, and his son.

Praise for THE LAST PILOT

‘The dense layering of real events, seriously technical language and sustained US vernacular makes for a big, muscular novel, but this is tenderly undercut by the quite different theme of a marriage and a family under unbearable stress... A cowboy in a silver suit he may be, but Jim Harrison’s descent into hell is convincing and moving.’ – Jane Housham, Guardian

‘Jim’s story is fascinating, and the author writes with a strong ear for dialogue, which rattles the pages with intensity. A marvellous, emotionally powerful novel.’ – Publishers Weekly

‘Benjamin Johncock has written one of the most American novels of the year … With remarkable accuracy, capturing the emotional weight of a time in history … The story is well paced and chock full of an array of inspirational characters … exuberant life beaming from the gorgeous prose. Johncock follows in the footsteps of the impressive list of writers that have been capable of creating lifelike dialogue by eliminating quotation marks and a large amount of tags in what is often pages of back forth between its characters. … reminiscent of the great Cormac McCarthy … The exposition is packed with detail, word choices and sentence structures that add up to equal a distinct and unique new voice in fiction … shows the careful and precise guidance of the authorial voice that can be trusted fully and wholeheartedly. Johncock writes paragraphs that are often only seen by master craftsman with many books already to their name … This debut novel is undoubtedly one of the most authentic pieces of fiction set in America in years.’ – Steven Petite, The Huffington Post

Visit Benjamin’s website and follow him on Twitter.

BFLA Authors in best of 2015 lists

It’s that time of year again when everyone's sharing their ‘Best of’ lists, and we’re extremely proud that our authors have been included in many of them. Below is a summary of the great places they were included and the great quotes that accompanied their pick.

RECIPES FOR LOVE AND MURDER - A TANNIE MARIA MYSTERY, HarperCollins US, draft.jpg

RECIPES FOR LOVE AND MURDER by Sally Andrew

Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2015:
"A delightful debut, tender and funny. The mystery takes on the worldwide problem of abused women while revealing both the beauties and problems of South Africa. And the recipes will make you want to drop everything and start cooking."

Wall Street Journal Best Mystery Book of 2015:
“The exotic locale, the lovely patois and the heroine’s unique sensibility make Ms. Andrew’s “Recipes” a blue-ribbon winner.”

Samantha Gibb, Sunday Times SA Best book of 2015:
“The quintessential feel-good SA whodunit, complete with recipes and advice. A must read.”

LUNGDON by Edward Carey

 

 

 

NPR Guide to 2015’s Great Reads:
“A magnificently engrossing indictment of our late capitalist modernity.”

 

 

 

 

THE FETCH by Finuala Dowling

Margaret von Klemperer, Fiona Snyckers & Helené Prinsloo, Sunday Times SA Best book of 2015:
‘A sparkling comedy of manners, but under the froth there are serious issues, and it is Dowling’s sensitive handling of them that makes this such a lovely book’ – Margaret von Klemperer

‘Comparisons with Jane Austen are not misplaced.’ – Fiona Snyckers

‘The characters from THE FETCH by Finuala Dowling haunted my dreams. The story led me to a garden cottage in the deep south where I kept waiting to happen upon someone like William.’ – Helené Prinsloo

 

THE DARKEST HOUR by Barbara Erskine

 

 

Books Covered, Favourite Book Covers of 2015:
‘Tender, romantic, and earnest, just like the brilliant story within. The gold foil adds a luxuriousness without being flashy and the whole designs speaks of the era so perfectly. This is a standout cover in this area of the market.’

 

 

 

JELLYFISH by Janice Galloway

Zoe Strachan, The Herald:
‘Janice Galloway prefaces her new collection of stories, JELLYFISH (Freight, £12.99), with a quote from David Lodge: “Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children; life’s the other way round.” In fact she gives us plenty of both, but it’s the stories about mothers and children that really cut to the quick.’

Sara Crowley and Kaite Welsh, Bristol Prize Best Short Story Reads of 2015:
‘My most eagerly awaited publication of 2015 was Janice Galloway’s JELLYFISH (Freight) which I am reading very slowly so as to savour each brilliant word.’ – Sara Crowley

‘Galloway has hit a rich seam of imagination as she returns to the short story as a form. It’s perfect for her style – wry, slightly off-kilter and always returning to the theme of parent and child, the kind of subject matter that offers Galloway the chance to delve once more into the murky depths of human relationships.’ – Kaite Welsh

Scots Whay Hae! Best Books of 2015:
‘Janice Galloway has always been an innovative and playful writer, but never to the detriment of her prose… JELLYFISH is a timely reminder that she is one of the finest writers around. Each story, each sentence, is beautifully crafted by someone who cares enough to take such care… If you read a better book than Jellyfish this year you are a very lucky person indeed.’

THE NEED FOR BETTER REGULATION OF OUTER SPACE by Pippa Goldschmidt

 

 

Alice Thompson, The Herald:
‘In these stories, the powerful juxtaposition of scientific intellect and emotional frailty is played out engagingly. The stories also imply no matter how objective scientific genius is, the scientists themselves, like the rest of us, are subject to moral failings.’

 

 

 

YOU ARE DEAD by Peter James

 

 

Guardian Best Crime and Thriller books of 2015:
‘Peter James showed that a diversion this year into ghost stories with THE HOUSE ON COLD HILL had not diverted energy from his consistently impressive sequence of DS Roy Grace policiers, the 11th of which, YOU ARE DEAD (Macmillan), confidently combines a cold case with a very hot one.’

 

 

 

THE LAST PILOT by Benjamin Johncock

Isabella Costello Literary Sofa ‘My Year in Books’:
‘Ben Johncock’s debut has all the things I love about American fiction and he’s not even American. Gorgeous spare prose, authentic sense of time and place, a poignant story told with sensitivity and restraint – I have raved about this book so much it’s embarrassing.’

Reading Groups’ Staff Picks for 2015:
‘With echoes of Tom Wolfe’s THE RIGHT STUFF and Richard Yates’ REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, THE LAST PILOT re-ignites the thrill and excitement of the space race through the story of one man’s courage in the face of unthinkable loss.’

Ian Rankin’s End of Year Roundup

Utter Biblio, Top 10 of 2015

ICARUS by Deon Meyer

 

 

Financial Times’ Crime Books of the Year

Boston Globe's Best Mystery Books of 2015:
‘An ashleymadison.com-style website-related murder and a parallel plot that delves into the dregs of South Africa’s wine industry keep Benny Griessel and his cadre of Cape Town coppers on their toes.’

 

 

 

GREEN LION by Henrietta Rose-Innes

 

Ben Williams, Fiona Snyckers & Jennifer Malec, Sunday Times SA Best book of 2015:
‘And if readers missed Henrietta Rose-Innes’s GREEN LION (Umuzi) … they’d best not let 2015 expire without acquainting themselves’ – Ben Williams

‘Rose-Innes goes from strength to strength, refining her craft with each new book.’ – Fiona Snyckers

‘Masterful’ – Jennifer Malec

 

 

THE FOLLY by Ivan Vladislavic

 

 

Flavorwire’s 15 Worthwhile Books You Might Have Missed in 2015:
‘Praised by the likes of Coetzee and others — it’s not hard to see why…’

 

 

 

101 DETECTIVES by Ivan Vladislavic

Michelle Magwood, Jennifer Malec & Sophie Kohler Sunday Times SA Best book of 2015:
‘Mordantly funny, acutely perceptive and exquisitely styled, this collection of short stories is a definitive showcase of Vladislavic’s talents.’ – Michelle Magwood

‘Witty, enthralling and pleasurably disorientating.’ – Jennifer Malec

‘The stories are bewildering in their refusal to provide a clear resolution, but this is to their credit, in that each leaves a mystery to be solved.’ – Sophie Kohler

 

 

THE A WONG COOKBOOK by Andrew Wong

 Rose Prince, Spectator Best New Cookery Books 2015:
‘There is food in A Wong: The Cookbook (Mitchell Beazley, £25) for home cooks, but it is also a chef’s book. May every aspiring one buy it. If they did, Chinese food in Britain would go through a true revolution.’

Observer 25 best food books 2015:
‘At his Pimlico restaurant, Wong is keen to prove that Chinese food can be just as considered as other, more revered cuisines.’