Rebecca Watson's debut novel little scratch has been shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2021. The National Centre for Writing has announced the three-strong shortlist for the £10,000 prize, which will be awarded to the most outstanding first novel of the past 12 months.
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.
In a voice that is fiercely wry, touchingly delicate and increasingly neurotic, the protagonist relays what it takes to get through the quotidian detail of that single trajectory – from morning to night – while processing recent sexual violence.
little scratch is about the coexistence of monotony with our waking, intelligent lives. It is a powerful evocation of how the external and internal aspects of our lives exist in a helix, and what it means to live out the course of a single day consumed by trauma.
Rebecca Watson is one of The Observer‘s 10 best debut novelists of 2021. Her work has been published in the TLS, The Guardian, Granta and elsewhere. In 2018, she was shortlisted for the White Review Short Story Prize. She works part-time as Assistant Arts Editor at the Financial Times and lives in London.
The winner of the prize will be announced on Thursday 1st July.