This Friday, we bring you a selection of books by brilliant contemporary novelists from around the UK to dive into

Charlotte Mendelson

One of the UK’s most exciting writers, Mendelson frequently features on award shortlists and has had a number of novels published to rave reviews. 

We recommend:  Almost English

Almost English follows sixteen year old half-Hungarian, Marina, in a powerful coming of age tale. Struggling with missing home while at boarding school, lonely Marina ends up entangled with the wrong man. Almost English delves into the nature of family, love and teenage years with wit and sensitivity.

Deborah Levy

Born in South Africa, British playwright, novelist and poet, Levy was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize with Swimming Home in 2012, and once again this year with Hot Milk. Her plays have been performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Levy is widely regarded as one of Britain’s finest writers. 

We recommend: Swimming Home

Swimming Home mesmerised critics and readers alike when it was published, for its tender look at the family and mental health. The novel follows poet, Joe Jacobs, who is pursued by an unstable fan, Kitty, to his holiday home one summer. We bear witness to Joe’s eventual decline as the pressure from Kitty mounts.

Nicola Barker

Barker is known for her bleak novels based in isolated settings which explore the mundane-ness of everyday life, contrasted with people’s eccentricities. Her work is darkly comic, full of mischief and exposes the complexity and pain within each of her characters.

We recommend: Darkmans

Darkmans has both compelled and confounded critics, though the novel nonetheless made its way onto the Man Booker Prize shortlist in 2007. A novel without a plot or a main character, Darkmans explores love and jealousy, past and present and the incredibly unremarkable town of Ashford.

Scarlett Thomas

Born in Hammersmith, author Scarlett Thomas has been a strong presence on the UK literary scene for nearly two decades. Known for writing which is vivacious and surprising, Thomas’s numerous works are well worth a read.

We recommend: The End of Mr Y

Long-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2008, The End of Mr Y tells the story of Ariel, a PHD student who comes across a cursed novel in her research.

Ali Smith

Scottish author, Ali Smith is a prolific writer with a distinctive voice, known for her plays, short stories, non-fiction and novels. Her work has been described as ‘dazzling’ and ‘inventive’ amongst plenty of other high praise. 

We recommend: There But For The

There But For The was lauded by critics for its stylistic flair and wit when it was published in 2011. The novel follows a man, Miles Garth, who locks himself in the spare bedroom while at a dinner party and refuses to leave. Things quickly turn sensational when he becomes a minor celebrity as a result, with everyone trying to catch a glimpse of him through the curtains.