Female writers dominate prize for debut novelists

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The Independent Culture

A week after the shortlist for the Bafta Rising Star award for young film stars was revealed to be an all-male affair, there was better news for female creative talent in the literary arena.

Eight of the novelists chosen for the Waterstones 11, which celebrates debut works of fiction from around the world, are women, it was announced last night.

They include Karen Thompson Walker, who wrote part of her novel The Age of Miracles on the subway as she travelled into work, and Grace McCleen, author of The Land of Decoration, who grew up in a fundamentalist religious group in Wales and had little contact with non-believers.

Janine Cook, chair of the selection committee, said: "Is this a golden age of female writing? The presence of eight female writers out of 11 on our list might indicate so."

Other works named this year include The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, the only entry on the list that has already been published.

James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones, said there was a "singular excitement to the discovery of a new writer of rare talent". He added: "It is hard to believe these are debut novels, so assured and alive is the writing."