from the judge Martin Penny: 'Once again, the overall standard of the novels submitted was very high. This year, it’s taken slightly longer to read them all and come up with a shortlist. My apologies for the delay.
The books submitted varied wildly in content and subject matter. I enjoyed reading them all. It’s good to see genuine diversity strongly featured, whether it be gender, race, religion, or disability.
None of those shortlisted would be out of place in a (reopened) bookshop and it will be an extremely difficult task choosing a winner. Whichever book wins the prize will be a credit to the author and a deserved addition to the Black Spring list.'