James Tait Black Prizes

HarvestCongratulations to Jim Crace @jimcrace and Hermione Lee who have won the James Tait Black Prizes. The prizes  have been awarded annually since 1919  and it is the oldest book award. The former journalist and broadcaster, British-born author Jim Crace, has won the fiction prize. He’s written 13 books and already has several prestigious awards to his name.

Harvest – inspired by the daily toil of a shepherdess- tells the story of a remote English village as economic progress disrupts pastoral idyll following the Enclosure Acts, creating legal property rights to land that was previously considered common.  The judges said:  “A spellbinding lyrical reflection upon the nature of cultural inheritance and the obligations and responsibilities of community in a changing and uncertain world”.

Past winners include DH Lawrence, Graham Greene, Angela Carter and Ian McEwan. ThePenelope Fitzgerald: a life winners receive £10,000.

 Prof Dame Hermione Lee has won the biography prize for  Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life.  She has written widely on women writers, including Virginia Woolf and Edith Wharton. Biography judge Prof Jonathan Wild said: “Hermione Lee’s biography of Penelope Fitzgerald provides a masterclass in writing of this type. “It’s the perfect marriage of an excellent subject and a biographer working at the very top of her game.”

 The James Tait Black Prizes are judged by academics and postgraduate students who read more than 400 novels & then nominate books for the shortlist. The awards, organised by the University of Edinburgh’s department of literatures, languages and cultures, were founded by Janet Coats, the widow of publisher James Black.