Page last updated at 20:01 GMT, Monday, 30 November 2009

Debut writer wins top book prize

Evie Wyld. Photograph by Daniel Swallow
Wyld's novel was published in August to rave reviews

A debut novelist has won this year's prestigious John Llewellyn Rhys literary prize.

Evie Wyld, 29, won the £5,000 award for her "remarkable" book, After the Fire, A Still Small Voice.

Set in eastern Australia, the novel tells the story of a father and son, their wars and the secrets they keep.

The London-based writer beat Booker winner Aravind Adiga and Orange Prize winner Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to take the prize.

Novelist and playwright Louise Doughty, chair of the judges said: "Evie Wyld's first novel is a remarkable book. A sometimes poignant, sometimes comic story of a father and son who have so much in common but never quite connect, it is awash with fine images that linger in the mind.

Between the Assassinations, by Aravind Adiga
The Striped World, by Emma Jones
Six Months In Sudan, by James Maskalyk
The Thing Around Your Neck, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Waste, by Tristram Stuart
After The Fire, A Still Small Voice, by Evie Wyld

"Wyld's choice of subject matter is both brave and wide-ranging, from the wars in Korea and Vietnam to the back country of eastern Australia, Wyld captures the inflections of male speech and male bonding in a way that feels both acute and realistic.

"There is nothing 'first novelish' about this first novel. It's a fantastically mature book, never showy, a slow burn that drags the reader in."

The John Llewellyn Rhys award is presented annually to a UK or Commonwealth writer aged under 35 for a work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry.

The second oldest literary prize in Britain, it was established in 1942 to honour the writer John Llewellyn Rhys, who was killed in action in World War II.

Previous winners include VS Naipaul, Margaret Drabble, David Hare and former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion.

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