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June 27, 2013

Baileys new sponsor for Women’s Prize for Fiction

baileysbottle| By Charlotte Williams

Baileys has become the new sponsor for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, with the cream liqueur brand entering into a three-year partnership with the prize.

The £30,000 prize will be known as the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction from 2014.

Kate Mosse, chair of the Women’s Prize for Fiction board, said a full programme of new activity with Baileys and joint plans for the prize will be revealed in the autumn.

She said: “We were delighted by the range of interest-and enjoyed meeting brands in various sectors-but in the end, the Women’s Prize for Fiction board felt Baileys was the ideal choice as our new partners.

“We were impressed not only by the scale of their [Baileys’] ambition, but also their passion for celebrating outstanding fiction by women and willingness to help in bringing the prize to ever wider audiences.”

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O’Donnell wins Commonwealth Book Prize

Lisa O'Donnell

Lisa O’Donnell

|By Charlotte Williams

The Commonwealth Book Prize has been won by UK debut author Lisa O’Donnell, while the Short Story Prize has been awarded to two joint winners.

The prizes-£10,000 for the Book Prize, and £2,500 to each of the Short Story Prize winners-were presented at the Hay Festival this evening [31st May] by author John le Carre.

O’Donnell’s The Death of Bees, published by Random House, was praised by Godfrey Smith, the prize’s chair, for being “effortlessly fresh and original; it is fiction that provokes and shocks; it is innovative in its narrative style and told in a natural convincing voice”.

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June 14, 2013

Bakker’s The Detour wins Independent Foreign Fiction Prize

Gerbrand Bakker

Gerbrand Bakker

| By Charlotte Williams

Dutch writer Gerbrand Bakker has won this year’s £10,000 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize with his novel The Detour, published by Harvill Secker.

It is the author’s second major literary prize win; his previous novel, The Twin, won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2010.

Bakker will share the prize money with the title’s translator, David Colmer [pictured right].

The Detour follows Emilie, a translation professor and Emily Dickinson scholar, who retreats from her life in the Netherlands to an isolated farm house in Wales following an affair with a student.

Boyd Tonkin, literary editor of the Independent and award judge, said: “Swift-moving and apparently straightforward, but with mysterious hidden depths, The Detour is a novel that grips its reader tight and never lets go

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May 24, 2013

Rushdie, Fagan, Gunn on James Tait Black shortlists

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie

| By Charlotte Williams

Salman Rushdie and Jenni Fagan are among the authors shortlisted for the £10,000 James Tait Black biography and fiction awards. The shortlist for the newly created drama category is to be announced later this month.

Contenders for the fiction prize are Scottish author Fagan’s The Panopticon (Windmill Books), about a 15-year-old who finds herself headed for a home for chronic young offenders but can¹t remember why; The Big Music by Kirsty Gunn (Faber), about a dying man creating a musical composition that will define his life; Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner (Granta), about a young American poet on a fellowship in Madrid, struggling to establish his sense of self; and The Deadman’s Pedal by Alan Warner (Vintage), about a 16-year-old who leaves school to become a train driver and is introduced to a world of glamour.

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May 20, 2013

Hensher wins Ondaatje Prize

Philip Hensher

Philip Hensher

| By Charlotte Williams

Philip Hensher’s Scenes from an Early Life (Fourth Estate) has won the £10,000 2013 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize.

The book, a semi-fictional account of the childhood of Hensher’s Bengali husband, was praised as “an unostentatious tour de force” by judge Margaret Drabble. Author Julia Blackburn, another judge, said: “Hensher performs a fascinating act of ventriloquism, taking on the voice of his Bangladeshi husband, who was born in Dacca in 1970, when East Pakistan was on the edge of fighting a bloody war of independence. Maybe it is the fact of being an outsider, while at the same time being intimately connected with his narrator, that enabled Hensher to describe the hubbub of a country’s political transition with such immediacy; we enter an unfamiliar world with him and smell and taste and hear it on all sides.”

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April 24, 2013

Harold Fry on Commonwealth Book Prize shortlist


The Great Agony and Pure Laughter of the Gods | By Charlotte Williams

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Transworld), longlisted for the Man Booker, is one of three UK debuts shortlisted for the £10,000 Commonwealth Book Prize.

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell (Windmill), a tale of two sisters after the death of their parents, and The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood (Simon & Schuster), a story set among Cambridge students, also make the shortlist.

Indian novel Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil, published in the UK by Faber, is also shortlisted; the book was shortlisted for the Man Booker last year.

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April 19, 2013

Shehadeh in contention for second Orwell Prize

Raja Shehadeh

Raja Shehadeh

| By Charlotte Williams

Author Raja Shehadeh is in the running to win the Orwell Prize for a second time, with Random House the most nominated publisher on the shortlist for the £3,000 prize.

Raja Shehadeh’s Occupation Diaries (Profile Books), about daily life in Palestine, is among the titles on the seven-strong shortlist, with Injustice by Clive Stafford Smith (Harvill Secker), examining the US justice system, and A Very British Killing by A T Williams (Jonathan Cape), about the killing of a hotel receptionist in Iraq by British Army troops, the two Random House titles on the list.

Shedhadeh previously won the prize in 2008 for Palestinian Walks, while Stafford Smith was also on the shortlist that year for Bad Men: Guantanamo Bay.

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March 26, 2013

Folio to sponsor Literature Prize; stellar Academy revealed

folioprize | By Charlotte Williams

The Folio Society has been announced as sponsor of the Literature Prize, the new award co-founded by Aitken Alexander director Andrew Kidd.

In an announcement at the British Library last night (13th March), organisers revealed the £40,000 prize, which aims to “celebrate the best English-language fiction from around the world”, will now be known as The Folio Prize.

The organisers also revealed a stellar and international list of over 110 authors and critics —including many of the biggest names in books—who have agreed to become members of the Folio Prize Academy, which judges the award.

Ian McEwan, J M Coetzee, Peter Carey, Zadie Smith, Margaret Atwood, John Banville, Philip Pullman and Jeanette Winterson are among them; they are joined by literary editors including Claire Armitstead (the Guardian), Gaby Wood (the Telegraph) and Erica Wagner (the Times), as well as Granta editor John Freeman. The Academy members are listed in full below.

The inaugural award will be presented in March 2014 for books published in the UK between 1st January and 31st December 2013, written originally in English from authors anywhere around the globe, and published in any form or from any genre.

The Academy will choose 60 titles, and then pick an additional 20 books from publisher nominations. The five judges of the prize will be Academy members, and will be drawn by lots in July. The panel must include three members from the UK, and two from outside the UK, and there must be no more than three members of the same gender. Five names will be drawn randomly from the two groups alternately, starting with those from the UK.

The selected judges then choose a shortlist of eight books, which will be announced in February 2014.

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March 22, 2013

Doyle on Carnegie shortlist

Roddy Doyle

Roddy Doyle

| By Charlotte Williams

Roddy Doyle has become only the second author ever to have the chance of winning both the Booker Prize and the CILIP Carnegie Medal, with his book, A Greyhound of a Girl (Marion Lloyd Books), among those shortlisted for the prestigious children’s prize this year.

Meanwhile, Helen Oxenbury and Emily Gravett are each on course for an unprecedented third win of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, with both illustrators featuring on the eight-strong shortlist.

The awards, which honour writing for children and children’s illustration respectively, and are supported by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), are judged by a panel of children’s librarians.

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March 18, 2013

Faulks to write new Jeeves and Wooster novel


Sebastian Faulks

Sebastian Faulks

| By Charlotte Williams

Sebastian Faulks is to write a new Jeeves and Wooster novel, expanding the humorous series written by P G Wodehouse, with the title commissioned by the author’s estate.

Hutchinson will publish the new novel, Jeeves and the Wedding Bells, on 6th November.

The book will be “faithful to the history and personality of Wodehouse’s characters but by shining a different light on them will also show how robust, durable and lovable these creations are”, according to the publisher.

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