Friday, 1 June 2012

Fiction Uncovered 2012 List

Fiction Uncovered aims to celebrate and promote British fiction writers. I love awards like this as they promote local talent to a worldwide audience. The eight titles selected for the 2012 promotion are below. They will be part of a summer promotion supported by retailers Foyles, Waterstones, iBookstore, Amazon and numerous independent bookstores across the UK. I may no longer live in the UK but I am always happy to get behind British writers.

Find the entire list on Goodreads.

When Nights Were Cold (Susanna Jones)
As Queen Victoria’s reign reaches its end, Grace Farringdon dreams of polar explorations and of escape from her stifling home with her protective parents and eccentric, agoraphobic sister. But when Grace secretly applies to Candlin, a women’s college filled with intelligent, like-minded women, she finally feels her ambitions beginning to be take shape. There she forms an Antarctic Exploration Society with the gregarious suffragette Locke, the reserved and studious Hooper and the strange, enigmatic Parr, and before long the group are defying their times and their families by climbing the peaks of Snowdonia and planning an ambitious trip to the perilous Alps. Fifteen years later, trapped in her Dulwich home, Grace is haunted by the terrible events that took place out on the mountains. She is the society’s only survivor and for years people have demanded the truth of what happened, the group’s horrible legacy a millstone around her neck. Now, as the eve of the Second World War approaches, Grace is finally ready to remember and to confess.
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This is Life (Dan Rhodes)
In Paris, art student AurĂ©lie Renard throws a stone and sets in motion a chain of events that will turn her life upside down.

 Suddenly finding herself in sole charge of a stranger’s baby, and with no idea how babies work, it’s only thanks to the help of her adoring professor and her gun-toting heartbreaker of a best friend that AurĂ©lie Renard is able to navigate her way through the most extraordinary and calamitous seven days of her life.

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The Light of Amsterdam (David Park)
It is December in Belfast, Christmas is approaching and three sets of people are about to make their way to Amsterdam.

Alan, a university art teacher stands watching the grey sky blacken waiting for George Best’s funeral cortege to pass. He will go to Amsterdam to see Bob Dylan in concert but also in the aftermath of his divorce. Karen is a single mother struggling to make ends meet by working in a care home and cleaning city centre offices. Marion and Richard are taking a break from running their garden centre to celebrate Marion’s birthday. As these people brush against each other in the squares, museums and parks of Amsterdam, their lives are transfigured as they encounter the complexities of love in a city that challenges what has gone before.
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Hit and Run (Doug Johnstone)
Driving home from a party with his girlfriend and brother, all of them drunk and high on stolen pills, Billy Blackmore accidentally hits someone in the night. In a panic, they all decide to drive off.

But the next day Billy wakes to find he has to cover the story for the local paper. It turns out the dead man was Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord and, as Billy struggles with what he’s done, he is sucked into a nightmare of guilt, retribution and violence.
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Crushed Mexican Spiders (Tibor Fischer)
The book has two front covers: read one way you’re in south London at night; turn it over and you’re being burned by the harsh glare of Mediterranean sunlight. In ‘Crushed Mexican Spiders’, a woman returns home to discover the key to her Brixton flat no longer works. ‘Possibly Forty Ships’ couldn’t be further from the grime of South London. It begins with an elderly eyewitness being tortured to reveal the true story of the Trojan War.
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Lucky Bunny (Jill Dawson)
Queenie Dove is a self-proclaimed ‘genius’ when it comes to thieving and survival. In Lucky Bunny she narrates her colourful life: born into a criminal family in the East End of London during the Depression, Queenie survives the Blitz and the Bethnal Green tube disaster to become an accomplished thief, trained by a group of women shop-lifters, before moving on to more glamorous – and lucrative – crimes. Daring, clever and sexy, Queenie takes pride in outwitting the police and surviving on her wits. Despite attempting to go straight after the birth of her daughter, she’s tempted by the opportunity to take part in one last, audacious robbery.
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My Former Heart (Cressida Connolly)
In wartime London, the impulsive and beautiful Iris thinks she glimpses her missing lover on a cinema newsreel. She sets off to the Middle East in search of him, sending Ruth, her young daughter, to be cared for in the country by her uncle. Out in the Lebanon, Iris meets a young doctor; while at school in Malvern, Ruth befriends the clever, sophisticated Verity. Each encounter will change their lives.
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Two Cows and a Vanful of Smoke (Peter Benson)
When young Elliot gets a labourer’s job at Mr Evans’s after being sacked from a pig farm for liberating six of its sows, he thinks he’ll have even more opportunities to lean on gates or stare at fields. But his best mate Spike keeps getting him into trouble, first by showing him what is being grown in a tucked-away polytunnel, and then turning up at his caravan’s door with a van full of weed. As Elliot tries to help his friend get rid of the hot merchandise, they find themselves at the receiving end of a cruel cat-and-mouse game.
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Obtained from