The £10,000 prize is given to a work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, which evokes the spirit of a place.
I've had this book sitting on my shelves unread since late last year, when I picked up a free copy at the launch of the Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature and the Arts. According to the blurb it is about a 13-year-old boy called David.
"His mum has left with her lover and dumped David on his grandparents. David's grandfather, Jimmy, is 70. He spends his days at the social club grumbling with his three best friends, all of them Jewish-Australian survivors of the enforced labour camps of the WWII Thai-Burma Railroad. But behind their playful backbiting and irresistible wit, Jimmy and his friends are haunted by the ghosts of long-dead comrades, and the only person Jimmy can confide in is a 13-year-old from a different world...
The other books on the list are:
- Nadeem Aslam's The Blind Man’s Garden
- Patrick Barkham's Badgerlands
- Tim Dee's Four Fields
- Alan Johnson's This Boy
- Esther Woolfson's Field Notes From a Hidden City
The winner will be named on 19 May.