Becky Chambers’ debut novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (the story is about a ship of wormhole builders who travel the galaxy making holes in space) was funded through Kickstarter. Chambers asked crowdfunders to help her finish writing her novel and secured the $2,500 (£1,750) she needed to do so. She has since landed a deal with Hodder & Stoughton.
Some 20 novels have been longlisted for the prize - £300,000. Past winners include Zadie Smith and Lionel Shriver. This year’s longlist has also attracted a large number of debut novels (11 in total) – the highest number since 2000. Included on the long list is Jackie Copleton’s A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding.
Judge and novelist Elif Shafak said the longlist had a mix of debut writers and well-established names (Kate Atkinson’s book, A God In Ruins is one of them) – and it showed that you didn’t have to set out with a big publishing company.