Max Porter's book about family grief wins him young writer award

Author Max Porter’s story of a family’s journey through grief after the death of a mother has been handed the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award.

Grief Is The Thing With Feathers, which was drawn from Porter’s own childhood loss, was awarded the £5,000 literary prize on Thursday evening.

Inspired by the work of poet and children’s writer Ted Hughes, the book beat off competition from three other finalists including Andrew McMillan’s collection of poems exploring masculinity and male desire.

Porter’s debut novel, published by Faber, reflects on the experiences of a dad and his young sons who struggle to take stock of their new lives as grief, anthropomorphised as a crow, confronts them.

The bestseller had already been awarded this year’s International Dylan Thomas Prize before Porter was recognised by the Sunday Times/Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award.

Also nominated were An Account Of The Decline Of The Great Auk, According To One Who Saw It, a collection of 12 short stories that range in century and location written by Jessie Greengrass, and The Ecliptic, the second novel from Benjamin Wood, which embeds itself in a refuge for hard-pressed artists attempting to rediscover their fading talents.

The award, which is open to writers aged between 18 and 35, was chosen by a judging panel made up of broadcaster James Naughtie, historian Stella Tillyard and Sunday Times literary editor Andrew Holgate.

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