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2009 Longlist

The Warwick Prize for Writing longlist was announced on 13 November 2008.

Lisa Appignanesi
Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800


Excessive shyness, sadness, erratic acts and eccentricity have all become fodder for the mind doctors over the last two hundred years during which their professions have grown and grown. Their diagnoses now encroach on almost all aspects of our emotional lives and behaviour. In turn, we see our lives as suitable cases for treatment and expect the mind doctors to fix us up with pills that promise to make us “better than well.”

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Lisa Appaignanesi, Mad, Bad and Sad 
Michael Blastland & Andrew Dilnot
The Tiger That Isn’t

Profile Books

Public spending, health risks, climate change, who’s rich, who’s poor, pensions, teenage offenders, the best and worst schools and hospitals, immigration – much of life comes at us in numbers. And yet politicians and some sections of the media use numbers to bamboozle us, using statistics that are misleading or just plain wrong.

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Michael Blastland and Andrew Dilnot, The Tiger That Isn't 
Rachel Blau Duplessis
Torques: Drafts 58-76

Salt Publishing

Twisted, knotted, struck by events and emotions at our historical moment, these Drafts register and produce torques—exaltation and tension, torsion and force, in their symphonic and bantering surges. This book continues the long poem project that Ron Silliman calls “one of the major poetic achievements of our time.

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 Rachel Blau Duplessis, Torques Drafts 58-76
John Burnside

Jonathan Cape

Every year or so, a boy from Innertown school disappears, vanishing into the wasteland of the old chemical plant. Nobody knows where these boys go, or whether they are alive or dead. The authorities claim they are simply runaways. But Morrison, the town policeman, knows otherwise.

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John Burnside, Glister 
Mike Davies
Planet of Slums


From the sprawling barricadas of Lima to the garbage hills of Manila, urbanization has been disconnected from industrialization, even economic growth. At the same time, the vital frontier of free or cheap land on the outskirts of Third World cities has ended: today’s squatters must wager their lives against inevitable disaster on precarious hillsides, in floodplains, or next to toxic dumps.

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Mike Davies, Planet of Slums 
Francisco Goldman
The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed Bishop Gerardi?

Atlantic Books

The Art of Political Murder is the first non-fiction book from acclaimed novelist Francisco Goldman, who began his career as a writer covering the 1980s wars in Central America for Harper’s. The Art of Political Murder is the mesmerising story of the seven-year investigation into the murder of a Guatemalan Bishop.

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Francisco Goldman, The Art of Political Murder 
John Hughes
Someone Else

Giramondo Publishing Company

Like The Idea of Home, Someone Else is a collection of essays, but the essays here are openly fictional, since they deal with figures who are themselves creatures of the imagination. The twenty one subjects are famous writers, artists and musicians from the past century (they include Anton Chekhov, Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust, Samuel Beckett, Italo Calvino, John Cage, Bob Dylan and Mark Rothko). Each essay takes an aspect of their life or work, and in the style of the chosen writer or artist, weaves a a story from it.

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John Burns, Someone Else 
Stuart A Kauffman
Reinventing the Sacred

Perseus - Basic Books


Reductionism – the philosophy based on the work of Galileo, Newton, and their followers that everything can ultimately be understood in terms of particles in motion – has been the basis of our scientific worldview for nearly 400 years and is the foundation of modern secular society. Yet, can a couple in love walking along the banks of the Seine really be reduced to the interactions of fundamental particles? Can societies really be explained by laws about people, which in turn can be explained by laws about organs, then cells, then biochemistry, chemistry, and particle physics?

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Stuart A Kauffman, Reinventing the Scared 
Naomi Klein
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism


Based on breakthrough historical research and four years of on-the-ground reporting, Naomi Klein reveals that our world is increasingly in thrall to a little understood ideology that is conquering the globe by systematically exploiting moments of disaster and trauma. This is the shock doctrine.


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Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine 
Thomas Legendre
The Burning


When an acquaintance suggests a wild weekend in Las Vegas, Logan Smith, struggling to establish an academic career in Philadelphia, thinks it might be just the kind of bright lights and reckless fun he needs. What he doesn't expect is a personal lesson in blackjack from a beautiful, dangerous, red-headed croupier called Dallas Cole who is going to change his life forever.

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 Thomas Legendre, The Burning
David Livingstone
Adam’s Ancestors: Race, Religion and the Politics of Human Origins

Johns Hopkins University Press

David N. Livingstone traces the history of the idea of non-Adamic humanity, and the debates surrounding it, from the Middle Ages to the present day. From a multidisciplinary perspective, Livingstone examines how this alternative idea has been used for cultural, religious, and political purposes.

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David Livingstone, Adam's Ancestors 
Robert Macfarlane
The Wild Places

Granta Books


The Wild Places has been awarded the Sundial Scottish Arts Council Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award and the Boardman Tasker Prize, and been shortlisted for the Galaxy British Book Awards Non-Fiction Book of the Year, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award.

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 Robert Macfarlane, The Wild Places
James Martin
The Meaning of the 21st Century

Eden Project Books

James Martin argues that we are living at a turning point in human history. 'We are travelling at breakneck speed into an era of extremes - extremes of wealth and poverty, extremes in technology, extremes in globalization. If we are to survive, we must learn how to manage them all.' Although we face huge challenges and conflicts, Martin argues that it is in the scientific breakthroughs of the new century that we will find new hope.

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James Martin, The Meaning of the 21st Century 
Ian McDonald


A novel that moves to a vibrant latin beat, a novel of conspiracies rooted deep in history and of the possibilities of quantum mechanics. Interweaving the past, the present and the future, faith and technology, this is a fast moving, thought-provoking, beautifully written story of all our tomorrows.

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Ian McDonald, Brasyl 
Joseph O'Neill

4th Estate

In early 2006, Chuck Ramkissoon is found dead at the bottom of a New York canal.
In London, a Dutch banker named Hans van den Broek hears the news, and remembers his unlikely friendship with Chuck and the off-kilter New York in which it flourished: the New York of 9/11, the powercut and the Iraq war.

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Joseph O'Neill, Netherland 
Alex Ross
The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century

4th Estate

In the twentieth century, music ceased to be one thing. It became a congregation of distinct musical cultures, speaking all at once in mutually alien tongues. In The Rest is Noise, Alex Ross, music critic to the New Yorker, gives us a riveting tour of the wild landscape of twentieth-century classical music with portraits of individuals, cultures and nations that reveal the predicament of the individual composer in a century of noise.

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Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise 
Juan Gabriel Vasquez (translator: Anne McLean)
The Informers


When Gabriel Santoro publishes his first book, A Life in Exile, it never occurs to him that his father, a distinguished professor of rhetoric, will write a devastating review in a leading newspaper. The subject seems inoffensive enough: the life of a German Jewish woman (a close family friend) who arrived in Colombia shortly before the Second World War. So why does his father attack him so viciously? Do the pages of his book unwittingly hide some dangerous secret?

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Juan Gabriel Vasquex, The Informers 
Enrique Vila-Matas (translator: Jonathan Dunne)
Montano's Malady

New Directions

In Enrique Vila-Matas prize-winning novel, Montano’s Malady, we encounter a cornucopia of writing styles by Jose, a writer obsessively searching for the ‘golden mean’ between the fictive and the actual. Utilizing the novel, the diary, the memoir, and philosophical musings juxtaposed within and throughout the voices of Cervantes, Sterne, Kafka, Walser, Bolano, and Sebald to create an orchestrated cacophony of literature, Jose guides the reader as they journey to European cities and South American ports.

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Enrique Vila Matas, Montano's Malady 
Ivan Vladislavic
Portrait with Keys

Portobello Books

As the Age of Apartheid recedes, the flotsam of a divided past flows over Johannesburg and settles around Ivan Vladislavić, who, patrolling his patch, surveys the enormously changed cityscape and tries to convey for us the nature and significance of those changes. This is now a city of alarms, locks and security guards, a frontier place whose boundaries are perpetually contested, whose inhabitants are ‘a tribe of turnkeys’. Vladislavić stands still, watches, and writes: and his astonishing city comes within our reach.

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 Ivan Vladislavic, Portrait with Keys
James Walvin
The Trader the Owner the Slave

Jonathan Cape

The story of slavery embraces the lives of many millions of people: Africans, Europeans and Americans. Its scope and the ways in which it has shaped the modern world are so far-reaching as to make it ungraspable. The Trader, The Owner, The Slave is a fascinating study of slavery, viewed through the lives of three people involved: a trader, John Newton, an owner, Thomas Thistlewood, and a slave, Olaudah Equiano.

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James Walvin, The Trader The Owner The Slave