Nominated by:

Lincoln Library, Springfield, USA

New York Public Library, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Alfred A. Knopf, USA

Published in the UK by Vintage


Karen Russell      

2013 Shortlist

Thirteen-year-old Ava Bigtree has lived her entire life at Swamplandia!, her family’s island home and gator-wrestling theme park in the Florida Everglades. But when illness fells Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, the family is plunged into chaos; her father withdraws, her sister falls in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, defects to a rival park called The World of Darkness. As Ava sets out on a mission through the magical swamps to save them all, we are drawn into a lush and bravely imagined debut that takes us to the shimmering edge of reality.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Karen Russell, a native of Miami, has been featured in The New Yorker’s debut fiction issue and on The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 list, and was chosen as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists. In 2009, she received the 5 Under 35 award from the National Book Foundation. Three of her short stories have been selected for the Best American Short Stories volumes. She is currently writer-in-residence at Bard College.

Librarians’ Comments

This debut novel Swamplandia! is part coming of age story for the three young protagonists, part adventure story and part satire. The characters in all their glorious eccentricity never take the story away from its underlining reality.

Highly original and inventive storytelling.

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