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novelists

8 up-and-coming novelists to check out this National Author's Day

We might spend hours glued to our phones these days, but the humble novel isn't going down without a fight—and curling up with a good book can be the perfect antidote to the stresses of student life.

2019 has seen so many amazing debuts and sophomore works, here's our exclusive list of eight fantastic up-and-coming novelists you absolutely have to check out, to celebrate this year's National Author's Day.

1. Samira Ahmed
Published this year: Interment

Fresh from the success of her Young Adult debut Love, Hate and Other Filters, this Indian-born Illinois novelist doesn't pull any punches in Internment, a near-future dystopia in which American Muslims have all been placed in internment camps. It made it to #4 on the New York Times Young Adult Hardcover Bestseller list and has already been optioned by two production companies—so the film adaptation could well be in the works by the time you've finished reading it.

2. Oyinkan Braithwaite
Published this year: My Sister, the Serial Killer

A combination of satire and slasher, Braithwaite's insanely successful debut follows two siblings, one of whom has the unfortunate habit of killing her boyfriends. Exploring hard-hitting themes such as violence against women alongside a heavy dose of black comedy, it's been translated into nine languages and, with the film rights already purchased, this novelists star is definitely rising.

3. Sabina Khan
Published this year: The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali

Another YA, following the trials and tribulations of a Bengali American teenager who's packed off to Bangladesh after her parents have a less-than-positive reaction to the fact that she's a lesbian. Khan came to write the novel after her daughter came out as bisexual, and she realised that there was a disappointing shortage of novelists who had included Muslim LGBTQ+ characters in their books for them to read together.

4. Rosie Price
Published this year: What Red Was

A young student is drawn into the glamorous world of a film director and her charismatic son but has nowhere to turn when she is sexually assaulted by one of their inner circle. Price's debut work is especially timely when set in the context of the #MeToo movement—which is even more hard-hitting when you consider that Price is a rape survivor herself.

5. Beth O'Leary
Published this year: The Flatshare

Sure to touch a nerve with anyone who's dealt with the sheer awfulness of renting in London, O'Leary's debut explores the relationship, and bizarrely intertwined-yet-separate lives, of a publicist and a night nurse who decide to save money by sharing a one-bedroom flat. It's been snapped up for a six-figure sum, and O'Leary has quit her job to write full-time, so expect more from her in future.

6. Jessica Andrews
Published this year: Saltwater
View this post on Instagram

A massive thank you to all those who came along to last night's #ArtisanSocial late night gallery shopping event with special pop up foodie guest @papaganoush_jesmond! We were over the moon to welcome back debut author Jessica Andrews (aka @itbeginswiththebody) who kindly joined us to sign copies of her new book, #Saltwater, here at the gallery bookshop. For those who couldn't make it, Artisan Social continues every Wednesday, 4-8pm, until 28th August. For a chance to meet a special guest author and for stacks of #signed books, street food, drinks, music and a late night gallery browse, there's no better way of spending your Wednesday nights than here @thebiscuitfactorygallery! #jessicaandrews #saltwaterbook #sceptrebooks #social #artisannewcastle #papaganoush #pausehere #readon

A post shared by Forum Books (@forumbookscorbridge) on

A bildungsroman (that's a coming of age novel, for everyone who isn't a massive nerd) about a young working-class woman who moves from Sunderland to study in London. It has a fragmentary, introspective style that might feel a bit weird if you're not used to more experimental novels, but it's had great reviews and, taking unflinching looks at disability, alcoholism, mother-daughter relationships and more—well worth a read.

7. Laura Bates
Published this year: The Burning

Even though this is Bates' first work of fiction, you might have heard of her already—she set the UK feminist movement on fire (in a good way!) when she started the viral Everyday Sexism Project to raise awareness of sexual harassment and all the other crap that women have to deal with on a daily basis. Drawing attention to the toxic world of revenge porn and slut-shaming, and interweaving the story of a teenager who subjected to both with that of an ill-fated 17th-century rape victim, The Burning is definitely a story for our times—at least if the sickening experiences of former Congresswoman Katie Hill are anything to go by.

8. Sara Collins
Published this year: The Confessions of Frannie Langton
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"A novel is like a long warm drink, but a poem is a spike through the head." - Sara Collins, The Confessions of Frannie Langton * I was gripped by 'The Confessions of Frannie Langton' by Sara Collins (@saracollinsauthor), and I so enjoyed getting to chat to Sara about her brilliant debut novel on the latest @teaandtattlepodcast episode. ‘The Confessions of Frannie Langton’ is a remarkable blend of murder mystery and coming-of-age story, told in the Gothic style. * Link in bio to listen to my discussion with Sara, or head to: teaandtattlepodcast.com/home/111 You can also search 'Tea and Tattle' in Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher. * * * * * * #saracollins #theconfessionsoffrannielangton #gothicliterature #frannielangton #teaandtattle #teaandtattlepodcast #bookstagramfeature #booknookstagram #bookaddict #bookcommunity #booknerdigans #goodreads #bookaholic #readabook #bookish #classicbooks #bookstagramer #booksforlife #bookslovers #booksfordays #bookishallure #bookstagramuk #booksfordays #alwaysreading #favouritebooks #bookishgirl #beautifulbooks #fortheloveofreading #bookishrestorative #booksbooksbooks

A post shared by Miranda Mills (@mirandasbookcase) on

A former lawyer who then spent nearly a decade as a stay-at-home mum (to five kids!), Collins started her debut novel in 2016 while studying for a creative writing MA. Fast-forward to this year, and her story of Frannie, a Jamaican former slave accused of murdering her employer, is a bestseller with rave reviews—and Collins is already hard at work on a script for the TV adaptation. Perfect for fans of novels like Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea, The Confessions of Frannie Langton explores the lives of West Indians who were in England long before the Windrush generation and gives a much-needed voice to marginalised figures who are too often silenced throughout history.

Don't forget to put these writers on your 2020 reading list! Let us know of any other novelists that we've missed out in the comments section down below.

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