Abi Elphinstone (The Shadow Keeper) - Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood building dens, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as a teacher in Africa, Berkshire and London.
Amy Liptrot (The Outrun) - Amy Liptrot has published her work with various magazines, journals and blogs and she has written a regular column for Caught by the River out of which The Outrun has emerged. As well as writing for local newspaper, Orkney Today, and editing the Edinburgh Student newspaper, Amy has worked as an artist's model, a trampolinist and in a shellfish factory.
Andrew Michael Hurley (The Loney) - Andrew Michael Hurley has lived in Manchester and London, and is now based in Lancashire, where he teaches English Literature and Creative Writing. He has had two collections of short stories published by Lime Tree Press. The Loney is his first novel - it was first published in October 2014 by Tartarus Press, a tiny independent publisher based in Yorkshire, as a 300-copy limited-edition.
Han Kang (The Vegetarian) – Han Kang was born in Gwangju, South Korea, and moved to Seoul at the age of ten. She studied Korean literature at Yonsei University. Her writing has won the Yi Sang Literary Prize, the Today's Young Artist Award, and the Korean Literature Novel Award. She currently teaches creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts.
Joanna Cannon (The Trouble with Goats and Sheep) - Joanna Cannon graduated from Leicester Medical School and worked as a hospital doctor, before specialising in psychiatry. She lives in the Peak District with her family and her dog. The Trouble With Goats and Sheep is her first novel.
Kit de Waal (My Name is Leon) - Kit de Waal was born in Birmingham to an Irish mother, who was a foster carer and a Caribbean father. She worked for fifteen years in criminal and family law, was a magistrate for several years and sits on adoption panels. She used to advise Social Services on the care of foster children, and has written training manuals on adoption and foster care. My Name is Leon is her first novel.
Lisa McInerney (The Glorious Heresies) - Lisa McInerney is from Galway and is the author of award-winning blog 'Arse End of Ireland'. The Irish Times has called her 'arguably the most talented writer at work in Ireland today'. Her mother remains unimpressed.
Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (Harmless Like You) - Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is a Japanese-British-Chinese-American writer. She has a BA from Columbia University, an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is currently working on a PhD at the University of East Anglia. Her writing has appeared in, among other places, NPR's Selected Shorts, TriQuarterly, and the Tin House Open Bar. She has lived in London, New York, Tokyo, Madison, and Norwich.
This special award was shortlisted and voted for exclusively by booksellers. It celebrates the beauty of the physical book and recognises books as artefacts to be treasured. The shortlisted titles are:
Cartes Postales - Victoria Hislop
Essex Serpent - Sarah Perry
Golden Hill - Francis Spufford
Hag-Seed - Margaret Attwood
Herbarium - Caz Hildebrand