Watson, Little Prize: Upmarket Fiction – Ciara McEllin

This is part of a series launching the Watson, Little Prize. The prize is international, genre-specific, and in this inaugural edition of the prize – in celebration of the agency’s 50th year – it is dedicated to writers over 50 years of age. It aims to encourage those from older generations, from all backgrounds and from all nations and cultures, to apply. The 2021 prize will focus on upmarket fiction, and we look forward to seeing entries in this genre.

Want to know how to submit? Click here.

In each part of this series, a member of Watson, Little staff will offer favourite examples of upmarket fiction. Today, we look at Ciara McEllin’s picks.

[su_row][su_column size=”1/3″ center=”no” class=””][/su_column] [su_column size=”2/3″ center=”no” class=””]Torrey Peter’s compelling DETRANSITION, BABY engages with subject matter common in upmarket fiction – womanhood, relationships and family – in a fresh and fearless manner that has traditionally been missing from this genre. It uses wit and charm to both confront the complicated and painful experiences of trans women navigating queer relationships and the possibilities of parenthood and to allow this to be an open and page-turning story. The characters are drawn with such complexity and compassion that makes it impossible to escape from the warmth of this deeply moving novel. For me this is upmarket fiction in its most thrilling form.[/su_column][/su_row]

[su_row][su_column size=”1/3″ center=”no” class=””][/su_column] [su_column size=”2/3″ center=”no” class=””]Beginning with its incredible opening sentence, through its exploration of the difficult modern history of Ireland, to its bittersweet ending, John Boyne’s THE HEART’S INVISIBLE FURIES is a wonderful and mesmerising novel. An emotionally and compelling narrative tale of the life of Cyril Avery – a life that is full of love, sorrow, heartache and hope – it makes you laugh, it makes you angry and it makes you cry (always a positive for me in a read). It is a book that I have pressed into countless pairs of hands since I first read it, and one that I know has meant so much to so many.[/su_column][/su_row]

[su_row][su_column size=”1/3″ center=”no” class=””][/su_column] [su_column size=”2/3″ center=”no” class=””]I love upmarket fiction that is comforting, clever and funny and Laurie Colwin’s HAPPY ALL THE TIME is just that. Originally published in 1978 and written in tender and hilarious prose, it is the tale of two men, cousins and best friends, and their courtship and marriage of their two brides, who also become best friends. A gem of a romantic comedy and the perfect blend of Jane Austen and Nora Ephron it leaves you full of joy.[/su_column][/su_row]