Adam Foulds picks up a top award for a book he wrote in between driving fork-lifts

Former fork-lift truck driver Adam Foulds has been named the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year.

Mr Foulds, 33, whose father is Rabbi Michael Foulds of the New Essex Masorti Synagogue, picked up the award for his debut novel, The Truth About These Strange Times (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) — a book about contemporary London life. It tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a runaway child genius and an overweight, chain-smoking twenty-something Glaswegian.

“To win is definitely an ambition fulfilled,” Mr Foulds tells People. “It is more than I expected to come from it.” He spent two-and-a-half years writing the novel, in addition to working full-time as a warehouse assistant — a job he has since given up. He says the characters in the novel are based on some of his own character traits, and those of people he knows.

A graduate of the University of East Anglia writing programme, Mr Foulds fought off competition from several shortlisted titles — Nikita Lalwani’s Gifted (Viking), James McConnachie’s The Book of Love (Atlantic), and two-times nominee Robert Macfarlane’s The Wild Places (Granta) — to take the £5,000 prize.

He has also recently released a narrative poem, The Broken Word (Cape Poetry).

Originally from Gants Hill, Essex, he lives in Forest Hill, South East London.

Last updated: 3:27pm, May 13 2008