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Eleanor Oliphant: Desmond Elliott shortlist & chart success

We are delighted that Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine has made the Desmond Elliott Prize shortlist.

The shortlist this year takes as its theme the idea of loneliness and social isolation, and explores why people withdraw from those closest to them. The chair of judges Sarah Perry (bestselling author of The Essex Serpent) commented:

 “Each of these three novels is distinguished by a striking and vivid narrative voice, a gift for storytelling, and a wise and humane gaze; and it is especially thrilling to bring to readers’ attention deserving debuts that might have thus far fallen under the radar… 

Eleanor Oliphant leaps fully formed into the reader’s imagination from the opening page. Her voice is so vital that the reader accepts without question her intense loneliness, so that her tentative journey towards a redemptive kindness becomes profoundly moving.”

The other shortlisted novels are How to Be Human by Paula Cocozza and We That Are Young by Preti Taneja.

The prize – in honour of the charismatic literary agent Desmond Elliott – is an annual award for a first novel written in English and published in the UK. It has been described by the Daily Telegraph as “the most prestigious award for first-time novelists”.

In the charts this week, Eleanor Oliphant is currently No. 2 on the Sunday Times bestseller list, and No.1 in Ireland.

The title sold 17,500 copies in the week ending 21st April, with over 300,000 paperbacks now being sold in total, and more than 600,000 copies being sold across all formats in the UK alone. In Ireland, it has sold around 40,000 copies.

Eleanor Oliphant continues to top the eBook chart, with its ninth consecutive week up there. This equals The Girl on the Train‘s record of consecutive top spots,  and with Eleanor Oliphant now being no. 1 for ten weeks in total, it might also put it in the running to beat the Girl on the Train‘s record of 19 weeks.