It can be difficult to keep up with the flood of new books constantly being released into the world, but we at Five Books are here to help you, by highlighting the best new fiction: from the most anticipated new novels from our favourite authors to the most buzzed-about debuts of the day.
Our deputy editor Cal Flyn has recently started a regular series highlighting the notable new releases every season – gathered below as we go – and we also discuss and dissect the shortlists of some of the biggest prizes for fiction with their judging panels throughout the year, including the Booker and Booker International Prize shortlists, the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, the Arthur C Clarke Award for Science Fiction, and more.
We also have a small number of in-house reviews and short Q&As with the authors of recently released novels.
Every year, the Booker Prize judges whittle a year’s worth of fiction down to a shortlist of six books, each competing for the title of the best novel of the year. Margaret Busby, chair of this year’s judging panel, discusses the six books that made the cut in 2020.
After coronavirus-induced chaos threw publishing schedules out of whack earlier this year, fall 2020 is shaping up to be a bumper book season. But with hundreds of new titles flooding onto the shelves, it can be hard to identify those that are most deserving of your time. Here, Five Books deputy editor Cal Flyn highlights some of the most anticipated new novels of the coming weeks.
Sci fi is booming, says Tom Hunter, the director of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Science Fiction, as he discusses their 2020 shortlist: six novels that embrace classic sci fi narratives, while subverting or reimagining them for a contemporary audience.
Comedy offers escapism and a way of processing our emotions during stressful times, says the comedian Pippa Evans—who this year served as a judge for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. Here she talks us through the books shortlisted for the title of the funniest book of 2020, and explains how she found herself researching pig deliveries.
Every year, the International Thriller Writers awards highlight the best new thrillers of the previous year. Anthony Franze, administrator of the awards and an acclaimed thriller author in his own right, talks us through their 2020 shortlist for the best new thriller published in hardback.
The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree
by Shokoofeh Azar, translated by Anonymous
The Adventures of China Iron
by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, translated by Fiona Mackintosh and Iona Macintyre
by Daniel Kehlmann, translated by Ross Benjamin
by Fernanda Melchor, translated by Sophie Hughes
The Memory Police
by Yōko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder
The Discomfort of Evening
by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, translated by Michele Hutchison
Broaden your reading horizons. Much of the most exciting, playful and inventive new fiction can be read in translation, says Ted Hodgkinson, chair of the judging panel for the 2020 International Booker Prize. Here he talks us through their shortlist of six novels.
No writer could resent you losing track of the new novels being published into the chaos of summer 2020 – with the world on lockdown and protestors taking to the streets. But fiction can offer respite from a relentless news cycle, writes Five Books deputy editor Cal Flyn – and an opportunity to consider our own lives and choices through the prism of others’.
Historical fiction is experiencing something of a golden age at present: there’s never been a better time to immerse oneself in the past. The acclaimed novelist Katharine Grant—chair of the judges for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction—talks us through their 2020 shortlist.
Five Books deputy editor Cal Flyn rounds up the most hotly anticipated new novels of early 2020, including the final instalment in Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy and new work from the authors of Dept. of Speculation, Eileen and Station Eleven.
Every year, the Audie Awards celebrate the best audiobooks published over the previous year. Veteran audiobook reviewer Robin Whitten of AudioFile Magazine and Mary Burkey, who has served on multiple audiobook judging panels, explain what makes a good audiobook and talk us through the brilliant books that were finalists in the 2020 ‘Audiobook of the Year’ category.
Each year, a panel of esteemed judges reads over 100 novels to determine which titles will vie for the award of the Booker Prize for Fiction. Peter Florence, chair of the 2019 judges and founder of the famous Hay Festival, tells us why the books on this year’s shortlist are gripping, enthralling must-reads.
Ken Liu, the multi-award winning author of The Paper Menagerie, explains how using elements of fantasy and science fiction can help us examine deep truths about the human condition, as he recommends the best of contemporary speculative fiction.
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
by Jokha Alharthi, translated by Marilyn Booth
by Annie Ernaux, translated by Alison Strayer
The Pine Islands
by Jen Calleja & Marion Poschmann
The Shape of the Ruins
by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, translated by Anne McLean
by Alia Trabucco Zerán, translated by Sophie Hughes
Bettany Hughes, author of Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities and chair of this year’s Booker International Prize judging panel, talks us through the six books they have shortlisted for the title of best novel in translation.
It’s been a great year for crime fiction – with soaring sales and global bestsellers emerging from writers all over the world. Crime writing is rightly in the ascendancy, says the celebrated Scottish novelist Val McDermid as she selects the best crime fiction of 2019: five books that stand as great novels in their own right.
The Best of Historical Fiction: The 2019 Walter Scott Prize Shortlist, recommended by Katharine Grant
The best historical novels are those so immersive and natural in tone that their period setting is a ‘by-the-way,’ says Katharine Grant, the novelist and judge for the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction. Here she discusses the six brilliant books that made the 2019 shortlist.
Looking for a pacy, suspenseful thriller that keeps you racing through the pages? Look no further. Anthony Franze, author and coordinator of the International Thriller Writers’ annual awards, talks us through some of the books that made the shortlist for the best thrillers of 2019.
Five Books deputy editor Cal Flyn reflects on a year of spectacularly rich literary output, highlighting notable new books from Mary Gaitskill and Robert Macfarlane, as well as sparkling debuts that mark the arrival of exciting new literary voices in 2019.
Looking for the best novels of the year? Kwame Anthony Appiah, professor of philosophy at New York University and chair of the 2018 Man Booker Prize for fiction, gives an in-depth breakdown of the six books that made this year’s shortlist, and reflects on why the novel as a form is stronger than ever.