Picador are thrilled to share that American War- the debut novel by Omar El Akkad - has been shortlisted for the 2018 James Tait Black Prize for Fiction.

Set in the USA in 2074, a country rapidly being overwhelmed by rising sea levels and in the midst of a second civil war, American War is told through the eyes of Sarat, a young girl whose family is displaced by the war and forever changed in the aftermath.

The James Tait Book Prizes are Britain’s longest-running literary award. The winners of the 2018 Prizes – presented annually by the University of Edinburgh – will be announced on Saturday, 18 August, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The two prizes celebrate the best work of fiction and biography during the previous 12 months, and each winner is awarded a prize of £10,000.

The fiction shortlist comprises:
American War by Omar El Akkad
White Tears by Hari Kunzru
First Love by Gwendoline Riley
Attrib by Eley Williams
The biography shortlist is made up of the following titles:

The Day That Went Missing by Richard Beard
Ma’am Darling by Craig Brown
Ali, A Life by Jonathan Eig
The Dawn Watch, Joseph Conrad in a Global World by Maya Jasanoff

Of the shortlist, fiction Judge of the James Tait Black Prize Dr Alex Lawrie, of the University of Edinburgh, said: “The books on this year's shortlist are experimental, thoughtful, and provocative. Together they represent the very best that fiction has to offer.”

The James Tait Black Prizes, awarded annually by the University of Edinburgh’s School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, were founded in 1919 by Janet Coats, the widow of publisher James Tait Black, to commemorate her husband’s love of good books and are the only major British book awards judged by literature scholars and students.