Merton alumna's debut novel shortlisted for 2021 Desmond Elliot Prize

little scratch, the debut novel by Rebecca Watson (2013), has been shortlisted for the 2021 Desmond Elliot Prize for New Fiction.

little scratch tells the story of a day in the life of an unnamed woman, living in a lower-case world of demarcated fridge shelves and office politics, clock-watching and WhatsApp notifications. It is a fearless and defiantly playful look at how our minds function in — and survive — the darkest moments. The New Yorker called it ‘extraordinary’.

Rebecca said:

“I am delighted to have been shortlisted for the 2021 Desmond Elliott Prize, especially in such a difficult year for bookselling, publishing, and word-of-mouth attention for debut fiction. It is a brilliant list and one I am very proud to be a part of.”

The Desmond Elliott Prize is an annual award for a first novel written in English and published in the UK. Worth £10,000 to the winner, the prize is named after the literary agent and publisher, Desmond Elliott.

Rebecca is Assistant Arts Editor at the Financial Times, and her work has been published in the Times Literary Supplement and Granta. In 2018, she was shortlisted for the White Review Short Story Prize. This year she was named one of The Observer's 10 best debut novelists of 2021.

The Desmond Elliot Prize is announced on Thursday 1 July.