Poetry, two crime novels and a novella have made the shortlist for this year’s Arnold Bennett Book Prize.
The international prize, which was established in 2017 to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Arnold Bennett, attracted many entries including from a number of nationally-known authors.
This year’s prize is for books published during 2020 or 2021, after the usually annual prize took a one-year break due to the pandemic.
A cheque for £500 will be presented to the writer of the winning entry at the Arnold Bennett Society members day at the North Staffs Medical Institute in Hartshill on May 28.
Chair of the judging panel, lecturer Morag Jones, said: “The committee made a unanimous decision as to which books should be on the shortlist. The four shortlisted writers will each be invited to read a short extract from their work at the members day before the winner is announced and presented with a cheque for £500. Those present will be very interested to meet all four writers.”
The judges also include author and historian Fred Hughes, retired headteacher Elizabeth Leslie, retired senior librarian Philip Lees, Arnold Bennett Society trustee Erika Alcock, journalist and Made in Stoke-on-Trent coordinator Jenny Amphlett plus Arnold Bennett Society members Penny Mitchell and Pat Marshall.
It is the fifth year the international book prize has been organised by the Arnold Bennett Society. Entry is open to writers based in Stoke-on-Trent, the wider North Staffordshire area or living anywhere in the world if their work features North Staffordshire.
Past winners include Guardian columnist Charlotte Higgins, who was born and raised in Newcastle-under-Lyme, novelist Jan Edwards, short story writer Lisa Blower and poet John Lancaster.
The shortlisted books for 2022 are:
Only About Love by Debbi Voisey
Where the Silent Screams are Loudest by John Pye
The Leading Question by Roger Elkin
Hunt by Leona Deakin