Matthew De Abaitua shortlisted for East Anglia literary prize

  • Date

    Fri 29 Mar 19

Self and I

Matthew De Abaitua has been shortlisted for the 2019 New Angle Prize. The prize recognises literature associated with, or influenced by, the region of East Anglia.


Matthew, a lecturer in Creative Writing from the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, was joined on last month’s longlist by two other Essex academics, Dr James Canton and Professor Jules Pretty.

Matthew is nominated for Self & I: a memoir of literary ambition (Eye Books, 2018), which charts the author’s own development while working for  'literary phenomenon' Will Self in the early 1990s.

Self, then newly divorced and a highly sought-after author on the British literary scene, hired the 22 year-old Creative Writing graduate as his live-in amanuensis (writer’s assistant). Matthew moved in with the author at his Suffolk cottage.

Matthew has worked as a magazine and television editor and published three science fiction books. In 2008 he was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for his debut novel, The Red Men. He was inspired to write his memoir after completing his creative non-fiction book The Art of Camping: The History and Practice of Sleeping Under the Stars.

He said: “I started making notes on Self & I soon after the publication of The Art of Camping. I wanted to write about rites of passages, those times in our lives when we undergo change. My time in the cottage with Will Self was a crucial rite of passage after which I emerged with a different name and a sense of what it would be like to become a writer."

He added: “It’s heartening to be shortlisted for a prize that concerns the response of writing to a region.”

Self & I is available now to purchase online at Eye Books or Amazon.

The shortlisted authors will be featured in an event at the Ipswich Institute on Wednesday 1 May.

Prize-winners will be announced at the Awards Dinner on Wednesday 3 July.