The Warwick Prize for Writing announces today, 19 June 2015, its longlist of 13 titles under consideration for its 2015 edition. The unique biennial literary prize, run by the University of Warwick, is worth £25,000 and is an international cross-disciplinary award open to any genre or form of writing. The theme for this year’s prize is ‘Instinct’.
The titles include one poetry, seven fiction and five non-fiction books, with short stories, memoir and science fiction all represented.
From a tale of sign-language dependent Maya siblings to an examination of Aristotle’s pioneering biological work and a lyrical love letter to commercial aviation, it is a diverse list, reflecting the international and inclusive nature of the prize. Other subjects include the loss of a young daughter, a mysterious expedition into an environmental disaster zone, and reflections on a hardscrabble childhood.
Internationally-renowned names include Karl Ove Knausgaard and Marilynne Robinson, whose works sit alongside a debut novel from Sara Baume and the powerful and widely-acclaimed memoir of US lawyer and racial equality campaigner Bryan Stevenson. Independent publishers are well represented with eight titles on the list, with Bloomsbury, Carcanet, Canongate, Granta, Scribe, Serpent’s Tail and Tramp Press represented.
The Warwick Prize for Writing 2015 longlist is:
Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume (Tramp Press) - Fiction
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (Serpent’s Tail) - Fiction
Divided Lives by Lyndall Gordon (Virago) – Non-fiction
Her Birth by Rebecca Goss (Carcanet) – Poetry
The Dig by Cynan Jones (Granta) – Fiction
Redeployment by Phil Klay (Canongate) – Fiction
A Man In Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard translated by Don Bartlett (Harvill Secker) – Fiction
The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science by Armand Marie Leroi (Bloomsbury) – Non-fiction
Lila by Marilynne Robinson (Virago) – Fiction
Ismael and His Sisters by Louise Stern (Granta) – Fiction
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (Scribe) – Non-fiction
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (Fourth Estate) – Fiction
Skyfaring by Mark Vanhoenacker (Chatto & Windus) – Non-fiction
In addition to winning the £25,000 monetary prize, the winner will be awarded the opportunity to take up a short placement at the University of Warwick.
The judging panel for the 2015 prize is chaired by Warwick alumna and author A L Kennedy, who is joined by author and academic Robert Macfarlane, actress and director Fiona Shaw, Warwick alumnus and Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler and physician and writer Gavin Francis.
On announcing the longlist, A L Kennedy comments:
‘I'm delighted to see we have such a strong and varied list and am looking forward to our judging discussions for the shortlist and prize. My best wishes and thanks to all those currently included and to my fellow judges.’
Several of the longlisted writers are already prize-winners, including Sara Baume, Karen Joy Fowler, Lyndall Gordon, Rebecca Goss, Phil Klay, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Armand Marie Leroi, Marilynne Robinson and Jeff VanderMeer.
The Warwick Prize for Writing was founded in 2009 and is run by the University of Warwick. Naomi Klein was the inaugural winner of the prize in 2009, for her book The Shock Doctrine, an exposé of disaster capitalism. The 2011 prize was awarded to Peter Forbes for Dazzled and Deceived, a cultural history of mimicry and camouflage in nature, art and warfare. The prize was awarded to a poet for the first time in 2013, to Alice Oswald for Memorial. A shortlist will be announced in October, with the winner announced in November.
The nominations process was expanded in 2013 to include Monash University, following the formation of the Monash-Warwick Alliance and students and staff at both universities were invited to make nominations. For the first time in 2015 international publishers were invited to make direct submissions.
The University of Warwick is an active champion and key enabler of the arts and emerging writing talent. Former Warwick graduates include Jonathan Edwards, Emily Hasler and Claire Trevian.
The Warwick Writing Programme, founded in 1996, is the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in Europe. It is an internationally-acclaimed programme drawing students and staff from across the globe. Its faculty includes renowned authors from a variety of disciplines and genres such as Ian Sansom, Jonathan Skinner, Maureen Freely and Sarah Moss, who is also co-director of the Warwick Prize for Writing.
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