Book groups are full of readers who love to be the ones to discover a new book or writer before anyone else. Thankfully, there’s a prize for that. Not for the book group, but for the book. The Commonwealth Book Prize is awarded to the best first novel published in the award year.
The Commonwealth Foundation funds a prize of £2500 give to each winner in one of five regions, Africa, Asia, Canada & Europe, The Carribbean, and The Pacific. An overall winner receives £10,000.
This year’s overall winner is The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell. A character rich story of two sisters so desperate to keep their family together, they bury their parents in the backyard garden and craft an elaborate lie for neighbors and friends.
The shortlist of regional winners is also a gold mine for book groups that enjoy international first novels. And groups that tackle short stories shouldn’t miss the Short Story Prize winners for 2013.