Derek Owusu’s That Reminds Me was announced the winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2020 on July 2, 2020.
The Desmond Elliott Prize is awarded annually for the best first full-length work written by an author whose permanent place of residence is in the UK or Ireland. Running from 2008, the prize is named in honour of the distinguished late publisher and literary agent, Desmond Elliott. Some of the previous winners of the award have been Claire Adam (2019), Preti Taneja (2018), and Francis Spufford (2017).
Chairing the panel of judges for 2020 is writer, academic, and former Desmond Elliott Prize winner Preti Taneja, who is joined by Chief Lead Writer at The Observer Sonia Sodha and writer Sinéad Gleeson. Collectively the three judges are tasked with finding the novel they believe is most deserving of being designated the best debut novel of the last 12 months. The shortlist for the prize was announced on June 2.
The winner of the award was announced as Derek Owusu’s That Reminds Me. Preti Taneja, said, “That Reminds Me is written with a rare style that wrings pure beauty from every painful, absurd moment K must face. Despite the terrors around him, this young black man has an instinctive love for the world that burns at the core of the book. The judges and I were as shattered by the truths of the story as we were moved by the talent of its writer. Derek Owusu has given us a unique, profound and transcendent work of literature: we want as many readers as possible to discover it – once they do they will return to again and again.’
In addition to the £10,000 prize money, Owusu will receive a tailored year-round platform of support and mentorship from UK’s National Centre for Writing, which is running the Desmond Elliott Prize for the first time this year as part of its new Early Career Awards portfolio.