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2009 Shortlist

The Warwick Prize for Writing shortlist was announced on 22 January 2009



Watch a video of the announcement of the shortlist on 22 January together with the judges' experience of the Prize so far.

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 Appignanesi, Mad Bad and Sad
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

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 Sacred
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
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
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, Montanos Malady
* Also published in hardback in the UK by Harvill Secker under the title "Montano".