Adam Foulds nominated for Man Booker Prize

By Jessica Elgot, September 9, 2009
Poet and novelist Adam Foulds

Poet and novelist Adam Foulds

Novelist Adam Foulds, has had his third book The Quickening Maze shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

The son of New Essex Masorti Rabbi Michael Foulds, Mr Foulds, 34, was named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year in 2008 for his debut novel The Truth About These Strange Times.

He has also won the Costa poetry prize and the Somerset Maugham Award from the Society of Authors for his poetic narrative The Broken Word a 60-page narrative poem about brutality during the Mau Mau uprisings in 1950s colonial Kenya,

His Booker nominated novel The Quickening Maze, is set in Epping Forest, close to where he was brought up in Gants Hill. The book reconstructs the meeting of poets Alfred Tennyson and John Clare at a lunatic asylum where Clare was imprisoned.

The novel was praised by the JC’s chief fiction reviewer David Herman. He said: “What makes this book such a delight is Foulds’s astonishing turn of phrase, his ability to create a fascinating group of characters and his skill at evoking a bygone world.

Foulds has a tremendous gift for language. He is already one of the most accomplished writers of the new generation.

David Herman

“Foulds has a tremendous gift for language. Whether his future lies with poetry or the novel is still hard to say, but he is already one of the most accomplished writers of the new generation.”

A one-time forklift truck driver, Mr Foulds went to Bancroft's School in Woodford Green and St Catherine's College, Oxford.

He then took a postgraduate course in creative writing at the University of East Anglia, which has the prestigious literary alumni of Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro.

He faces competition for the £50,000 Man Booker prize from South African writer J M Coetzee, who has won the coveted prize twice, and from Simon Mawer's The Glass Room which is the story of a wealthy Czech Jewish family during the rise of Nazism.

Other authors on the shortlist are A S Byatt, Hilary Mantel and Sarah Waters.

The winner will be announced on October 6.

Last updated: 2:23pm, October 12 2010