Books

2020 is the year of debut novels, so get your pre-orders in now

A new decade calls for new voices. Thankfully, there’s plenty of fresh talent to stock your shelves with, from the eagerly anticipated My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell, to Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud.

It’s exciting when your favourite authors announce new books, but there’s a special kind of buzz around a hotly tipped debut novel. Knowing that you’re about to discover the work of someone new, wondering what to expect, and, above all else, debating whether the writer can live up to the hype. 

As ever, there’s rarely smoke without fire and these six debut novelists are well worth looking forward to and reading throughout 2020. A new year, a new decade, and some unmissable new material.

These are Stylist’s top picks to read this coming year, and they’re all available to pre-order now.

  • NAOISE DOLAN

    Exciting Times(£14.99, W&N), out 16 April

    Based in Hong Kong, this sharp, witty debut from Irish author Dolan explores a love triangle as newly arrived English teacher Ava finds herself torn between the different worlds offered by non-committal banker Julian and alluring lawyer Edith. An extract ran in literary magazine The Stinging Fly, picked by then-editor Sally Rooney.

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  • INGRID PERSAUD

    Love after Love(£14.99, Faber), out 2 April

    In this deeply affecting tale from BBC Short Story winner Persaud, an unconventional family unit in Trinidad – spirited Betty, her quiet son Solo and their charismatic lodger Mr Chetan – implodes when Solo overhears a devastating truth one evening. With brilliantly drawn characters, this book will stay
 with you long after the last page.

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  • ABI DARÉ


    The Girl with the Louding Voice(£12.99, Sceptre), out 5 March


    In a bid for freedom, 14-year-old Adunni flees an arranged marriage to a local elder only to get sucked into working as a maid for a wealthy Lagos family. But unlike so many others forced into a life of servitude in modern-day Nigeria, Adunni will not be silenced. This is the story of how she learns to speak up.

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  • KATE ELIZABETH RUSSELL

    My Dark Vanessa(£12.99, 4th Estate),
out 31 March


    Destined to spark many a heated book club debate, My Dark Vanessa raises vital questions about agency and consent as a woman in her 30s comes to the dawning realisation that a teenage affair with her English teacher might not have been the great love story she once thought it was.

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  • DEEPA ANAPPARA

    
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line(£14.99, Vintage),
out 30 January


    Shocked by the statistic that
 180 children disappear in India every day, journalist Anappara turned her hand to fiction, crafting a charming yet heartbreaking novel about a group of children – the Djinn Patrol – determined to find their missing classmate.

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  • CLARE BEAMS

    The Illness Lesson(£12.99, Doubleday),
 out 6 February


    Set in 1871 in a Massachusetts girls’ school, where one by one
 the students start to experience strange symptoms (fainting, rashes, verbal tics), this haunting novel blends historical fiction with 
a timely comment on women’s bodies and minds, and those
 who think they can control them.

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Images: 4th Estate, Doubleday, Faber W&N, Sceptre, Vintage

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