The Authors’ Awards 2008
The 2008 prize winners were announced on Wednesday 18th June at the annual Literary Awards Reception.
The awards were introduced by the Chair of the Society of Authors, Tracy Chevalier, and presented by Terry Pratchett.
2008 Award Winners and Judges
The Elizabeth Longford Prize
Winner: Rosemary Hill for God’s Architect – Pugin and the Building of Romantic Britain (Allen Lane) – £5,000
Judges: Lady Antonia Fraser, Flora Fraser, Roy Foster, Andrew Roberts and A.N. Wilson
Notes on the winners
The Elizabeth Longford Prize
Rosemary Hill was born and brought up in London and is married to the poet Christopher Logue. She is a trustee of the Victorian Society, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a member of the Editorial Board of the London Review of Books and from 2004-5 was visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford.
Currently studying for a PhD at Queen Mary, University of London, she is also a writer and essayist. Stonehenge, her second book, is newly published and her next book will be on the subject of antiquaries in the age of romanticism.
John Burnside is the author of seven works of fiction – short stories and novels, the most recent being Glister (Cape) and a volume of memoir, A Lie About My Father, which was given the Saltire Book of the Year.
The third of his eight collections of poetry, Feast Days, won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and he was awarded the Whitbread Poetry Prize for The Asylum Dance.
He was born in Dunfermline and is a former computer software engineer. His home is now in Fife, where he is a reader at the University of St Andrews.
Also a playwright, he won the Best New Play Award in 2002 at the Edinburgh Festival. He has written eleven poetry collections and is now at work on Iceland Spar (Shoestring), Hunts: Poems 1978-2008 (Greenwich Exchange) and a critical study of Edward Thomas (Enitharmon).
He has collaborated with a number of composers including Harrison Birtwistle and his work in music theatre has been performed at the Royal Opera House, Carnegie Hall, the Proms and on television.
Born in Bovey Tracey, Devon, he lives in London and is the Distinguished Writing Fellow at Sheffield Hallam University.
Her poems have been translated into Arabic, Malayalam, Uzbek and Pashto and she is currently co-translating the Sudanese poet Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi (PTC and Enitharmon). She lives in West London.
Emily Berry’s pamphlet will appear from Tall Lighthouse later this year. She was commended in the 2007 Bridport Prize and Poetry London Prize. She lives in London and is currently working as a freelance copyeditor and is the breakfast reviewer Poppy Tartt for the London Review of Breakfasts website.
Rhiannon Hooson is a PhD student in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University. She was born in rural mid-Wales and now lives in the South Lakes area in Cumbria. In 2006 she published a series of ten poems in Seren Selections. She is at work on her first novel.
James Midgley has been studying literature and creative writing at the University of East Anglia. He was runner-up in the 2007 Poetry Business Competition and edits the poetry journal Mimesis. Born in Windsor, his home is just outside Henley, Oxfordshire.
Alison MacLeod grew up in Canada, moving to England in 1987. A senior lecturer in English at the University of Chichester, she teaches creative writing and lives in Brighton. She is the author of two novels – The Changeling and The Wave Theory of Angels and her winning story is taken from her short story collection Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction (Hamish Hamilton).
Gwendoline Riley was born in 1979 and lives in Manchester. She won a Society of Authors’ Betty Trask Award with her first novel, Cold Water. She is also the author of Sick Notes and Tuesday Nights and Wednesday Mornings and is at work on a new novel, Three Leaps.
Now living in Rome, he is also the author of a novel, Utterly Monkey, which was awarded the Society of Authors’ Betty Trask prize in 2006.
Adam Thirlwell was born in 1978. His first novel, Politics, won a Society of Authors’ Betty Trask award in 2003 and he was on Granta’s list of Best British Novelists under 40 in the same year. He is a fellow of All Souls, Oxford and assistanteditor of Areté
Marina Lewycka was born in a refugee camp in Kiel in Germany and now lives in Sheffield. Currently teaching at Sheffield Hallam University, she has been a sausage-twister, waitress, public relations officer and freelance writer.
She has written a number of non-fiction books on the care of the elderly. Her first novel, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian won the Bollinger Everyman Woodhouse Prize and the Saga Award for Wit and was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize and longlisted for the Booker. Her second novel, Two Caravans, was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize (Penguin/Fig Tree) and she is at work on a third.
Colin Thubron’s first book, Mirror to Damascus, was published in 1967 and he continued to write about the Middle East in The Hills of Adonis: a Quest in Lebanon and Jerusalem.
In all he has written eleven works of non-fiction, exploring the old Soviet Union, China and Islam. Behind the Wall: a Journey through China won the Hawthornden Prize and the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award.
His latest book was Shadow of the Silk Road (Chatto). He is the author of six novels and has received the RGS Mungo Park Medal and the Royal Society for Asian Affairs Lawrence of Arabia Medal. He lives in London and is currently writing a book on Tibet.
Jennie Walker is the pseudonym of Charles Boyle, the author of three poetry collections: The Age of Cardboard and String which was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Whitbread Award, Paleface, shortlisted for the Forward Prize, and The Very Man. He received a Cholmondeley Award in 1981.
He lives in London with his wife and sons and has worked in publishing for around thirty years. Unable to find a publisher he produced his first novel 24 for 3 under a pen name for his independent CB Editions imprint. Bloomsbury will bring out a new edition of the book later this summer.
David Szalay was born in Montreal, Canada but has lived in the UK since very early childhood and is now based in London. He has written a number of radio plays and is currently at work on a second novel.
Ross Raisin is from Silsden, West Yorkshire. He studied at Goldsmiths College and now lives in London, working on his second novel and as a waiter. He got to know the North Yorkshire moorland landscape of God’s Own Country when he met his fiancée and will be married there later this year.
Thomas Leveritt is a soldier turned writer and painter, with awards from the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. He was born in Glasgow and now lives in London.
Anna Ralph was born in Thornaby, Cleveland, and is the daughter of novelist Pat Barker. She has worked as a journalist, bookseller and organizer of the Literature Festival in Durham – where she now lives with her partner. Her second novel, Before I Knew Him, will be published in early July.
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