Melissa Harrison's All Among the Barley
and Sam Byers' Perfidious Albion
present illuminating and distinctive visions of England, presenting fictions that delve into the depths of England, shed light on the parts of our pastoral past we have overlooked and offer a stark glimpse of a dystopian future.
All Among the Barley captures the collision between modernity and pastoral life in rural England just before the Second World War. Fourteen-year-old Edie Mather lives with her family on Wych Farm in Suffolk. Glamorous outsider Constance FitzAllen attempts to persuade the family to forsake the advances of modern technology.
Set in a post-Brexit future, Perfidious Albion is a satirical portrait of England where fear and loathing are on the rise. Malign forces are at work in the once-peaceful town of Edmundsbury, with far-right group England Always fomenting hatred. At the heart of the novel are a couple, Jess Ellis and Robert Townsend, who have their ideals tested to breaking point.
Melissa Harrison is the author of the novels Clay and At Hawthorn Time, which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and longlisted for the Bailey's Women's Prize, and one work of non-fiction, Rain. She is a nature writer, critic and columnist.
Sam Byers' writing has appeared in Granta, the New York Times, The Spectator and the Times Literary Supplement. His debut novel, Idiopathy won a Betty Trask Award; it was shortlisted for many more.