York author denied dream ending in Man Booker prize ceremony

Fiona Mozley with her debut novel, Elmet.
Fiona Mozley with her debut novel, Elmet.

An author from York has missed out on one of literature’s top prizes after being shortlisted for her debut novel.

Fiona Mozley, a part-time bookshop worker, was in the running for tonight's 2017 Man Booker Prize for Elmet, which she began writing on her mobile phone on her way to work.

The £50,000 award went to favourite Lincoln In The Bardo by George Saunders, which details a grief-fuelled visit by the US statesman to his son’s crypt in 1862.

The 58-year-old New York resident, who was born in Texas, is the second American author to win the prize in its 49-year history.

Baroness Lola Young, chair of judges for the prize, said: “The form and style of this utterly original novel, reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative.”

Ms Mozley’s first book was only published the month before the shortlist, which included literary big hitters Paul Auster and Ali Smith, was announced.

Seen through the eyes of a child, Elmet is the story of a moody, philosophical bare-knuckle fighter who brings up his children “in defiance of social norms”.

The novel, set in a Yorkshire copse, was described by judges as “timeless in its epic mixture of violence and love”.

Mozley wrote the first chapter as the landscape of her native Yorkshire whizzed past the window while travelling to London by train.