Stone Seeds by Jo Ely has been longlisted for The Guardian's Not the Booker prize. Some reviews so far:
"Ely's fictional voice resonates with raw emotion, and her writing is as tactile as the damp walls and the crack in the ceiling of Antek's cell. The simplest description can be imbued with a complexity of feeling and meaning. Her characters seem rendered with great tenderness, a tenderness that can only inspire in the reader empathy and affection."
New York Times Notable Author, Sandra Tyler (Blue Glass)
"Powerful and poetic storytelling"
Oprah-endorsed writer, Roman Krznaric (Empathy, The Wonderbox)
"An intelligent, creative, imaginative, original writer"
Guardian Book of the Year writer, Trevor Byrne (Ghosts & Lightning)
"Strangely exotic characters and a bizarrely futuristic setting that are as real and vivid as in any film. The cinematic effect is remarkable ... A wild emotional ride through a series of plot twists and jaw dropping landscapes. A truly enjoyable read."
Independent Publishers Book Awards USA Gold Medal Award winner, Andrew Smith (Edith's War)
"A very accomplished prose stylist ... Very talented"
CM Taylor, British Science Fiction Association Best Book of the Year nominee (Grief)
"... A great debut novel. I got lost in the fantasy, but very real world, that was created. I also felt deeply connected to some of the characters ... a Hunger games for a new generation with a bit of Gormenghast thrown in"
Una Devine, journalist formerly of the BBC, LBC, ITV broadcast news parishes
"There are images and scenes in this novel that will probably stay with me always, much as if I had dreamt them ... The writing is starkly poetic, haunting, skilfully fractured. Jo Ely certainly knows how to manifest a sense of the uncanny ..."
Mark Mayes, Bridport Prize shortlisted, his work has appeared on BBC Radio 4 & BBC World Service, forthcoming novel 'The Gift Maker'
"Strong sensory opening ... Adeptly establishes character and mood with lyrical strokes ... nuanced and satisfying ... Small revelations in a singular moment"
Fish Publishing on Jo's Fish Prize shortlisted short story, A Godless Prayer for the Feet
"This is powerful, poetic prose ... a deftness of touch and a beautiful way with words which make your talent plain. And the subject matter - the setting and emotional content ... is superb. Your imagination, your facility for sumptuous prose, and your deft handling of the story's psychological and emotional content are hugely impressive ..."
Guardian Book of the Year Writer, Trevor Byrne
"A very distinct voice ... At times no less than stunning."
Author Sophie King
"Spare and taut writing that still delivers a real emotional impact ... A great debut novel."
Amanda Saint, author of As If I Were A River
"Terrific stuff ... Lyrical flair and an original voice."
Fish Publishing on Jo's short story, 'Ward'
"In a cruel and bullying dystopia, The General rules and everybody knows it. But as in every good tale of humanity gone wrong, three characters, Antek, Zorry, and Jengi, aren't prepared to accept it ... At times my heart was in my mouth ... Gruesome as it is in parts, it's also beautifully, poetically written."
Author Jackie Buxton, writing in Chase Magazine (Jackie Buxton's books include Tea & Chemo and Glass Houses, Urbane)
"I've never read anything like this novel. It is a true original ... Jo Ely is a natural talent who leaves the reader hungry for further food for thought while having you nostalgic for a time that never existed ... A great work of sci-fi that is relatable and out of this world. A stunning debut."
Clarissa Angus has been published in magazines and short story anthologies, and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. You can find her work online at Liars League, Ether Books, ABC Tales, The Artillery of Words, Litro Magazine and Raging Aardvark Twisted Tales
"Jo's debut book is a very unusual and extremely well written sci-fi novel. Her imaginative and poetic storytelling reminded me of the works of Ursula Le Guin. The realisation of her landscapes has a cinematic quality. Jo's writing is both powerful and lyrical, giving life to a very well crafted plot ... [its a] dark fantasy set in a bizarre futuristic setting and inhabited by characters I found interesting and empathetic. I was gripped ... A very distinct voice ... Compelling, beautiful prose and her world creation is so stunning and original ..."
Published poet, performer, and organiser of poetry collective Loose Muse, Sue Wrinch (poetry collection 'Down by Wild Water', pub. Morgan's Eye Press)
"There is a poetic compression to this artfully simple prose, with each sentence infused with the perceptions and psychology of the characters."
British Science Fiction Association Best Book of the Year nominee, CM Taylor (CM Taylor is the author of five novels, including Grief, Light, Cloven, and Premiership Psycho, Corsair)
Jo's short stories have appeared in a few places, including on the Fish International Short Story Prize Shortlist, Woven Tale Press magazine, WriteThis magazine, and in a book anthology of works selected by New York Times Notable Author Sandra Tyler (Woven Tale Press).
You can find links to Jo's published interviews with poets and storytellers, book reviews, short stories and more at jo-ely.co.uk (or follow her on twitter @Jo_ely_ness). Jo has mentored young writers for Arts Council funded Hounslow Action for Youth, launched at the House of Commons. She’s performed her work at #VanguardReads, founded by Faber author Richard Skinner. She’s been a star reviewer for the Empathy Library, and an Contributing Editor for Literary & Arts magazine Woven Tale Press, founded by New York Times Notable Author Sandra Tyler @WovenTalePress (All author royalties Stone Seeds go directly to ECPAT UK.)