Kerry Hudson’s second novel, THIRST, published by minimum fax in Italy and translated by Federica Aceto, has been shortlisted for the European Strega Prize 2016. The prize, organized by Casa delle Letterature and Foundation Bellonci, the International Festival Letterature di Roma and the EU International Representation in Italy, was founded in 2014 as a twin project of the prestigious Premio Strega, the most important literary prize in Italy. The winner will be announced on the 5th of July in Rome.
This is not the first international recognition of Kerry’s talent: in November, THIRST won the Prix Femina Etranger 2015, a major French literary prize created in 1904, whose past winners are, among others, 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 COLOUR DE L’EAU was picked out across the media as a highlight of the 2015 ‘Rentree Litteraire’. The first chapter of the novel appeared in July 2015 on Le Bien Public, and the novel was reviewed and mentioned by all the main French cultural papers, from Le Parisienne to La Montagne.
‘A wonderful book, as brilliant as it is moving’ – Femme Actuelle
‘Together they (Alena and Dave) discover and learn how to tame the chaotic criss-cross of their feelings, fears, jealousies, frustrations and desires…The author’s tough and straightforward realism doesn’t impede her ability to describe the beauty of their love story in the most elegant way.’ – Le Figaro
In Italy, SETE has been a favourite with booksellers, and again received some fantastic reviews:
‘…if every story she [Kerry} writes is as good as this one [it] will be difficult to resist her…Tender and passionate, this is a truly powerful novel.’ - Amica
‘With THIRST, the young Scottish writer Kerry Hudson tells us with ability a unique love story in which the salvific engine is the hope of beginning again, come what may. A novel that digs into characters and atmosphere, alternating ferociousness and kindness, heat and dejection.’ – La Repubblica
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.
More 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