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The Warwick Prize for Writing Announces ‘Complex’ Longlist

• International fiction and non-fiction titles battle to win £50, 000 prize
• Mathematicians and economists compete against seven novelists and a poet

The Warwick Prize for Writing today announces a longlist which is set to redefine traditional forms of writing. For the first time, political scientists will compete against novelists, mathematicians against poets and economists against historians.

The £50, 000 inaugural prize, run by the University of Warwick, stands out as an international cross-disciplinary biennial award open to substantial pieces of writing in the English language, in any genre or form. The theme for the 2009 prize is ‘Complexity’.

The longlist consists of 20 titles, 12 non-fiction and eight fiction. Topics vary widely and include politics, maths, economics, global warming, slavery, nature, music, science fiction and poetry.

The longlist features a 2008 Pulitzer Prize and BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize finalist (New Yorker music critic Alex Ross), the 2008 British Science Fiction Association winner (Ian Mcdonald) and a 2008 Man Booker Prize longlisted author (Joseph O’Neill).

Non-fiction entries range from Portrait with Keys, Croatian-born Ivan Vladislavic’s depiction of modern South Africa to The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, award-winning Canadian journalist Naomi Klein’s critique of the global ‘free market’. Fiction works include American poet Rachel Blau Dupleissis’ long poem project Torques: Drafts 58-76 and first time novelist Thomas Legendre’s The Burning.

International entries include writers from Croatia, America, Canada, Australia, UK, Ireland, Spain and Colombia.

The judging panel for the prize is chaired by China Miéville, award-winning ‘weird fiction’ writer. Judges include journalist Maya Jaggi; novelist, translator and academic Maureen Freely; Britain’s first book blogger Stephen Mitchelmore and University of Warwick mathematician Professor Ian Stewart.

China Miéville comments: “The style, form, genre and content of the works on the list is incredibly varied; the quality is anything but. Getting from this longlist to a shortlist, let alone a winner, will demand exactly the kind of open-minded and argumentative reading the prize is designed for, and, we hope, start many conversations about literature.”

The Tiger That Isn’t, an investigation into political misuse of mathematical statistics, is the only co-authored piece amongst the list, written by Michael Blastland and Andrew Dilnot, the creator and presenter behind BBC Radio 4’s More or Less.

A shortlist of six titles will be announced on 23 January 2009. The winner will be announced on 24 February 2009 at the University of Warwick.
To find out more visit the longlist pages.

The longlist of 20 titles is as follows:

Lisa Appignanesi:

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

Michael Blastland & Andrew Dilnot:

The Tiger That Isn’t: Seeing Through a World of Numbers
Profile Books

Rachel Blau Duplessis:

Torques: Drafts 58-76
Salt Publishing

John Burnside:

Jonathan Cape

Mike Davies:

Planet of Slums

Francisco Goldman:

The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed Bishop Gerardi?
Atlantic Books

John Hughes:

Someone Else
Giramondo Publishing Company

Stuart A Kauffman:

Reinventing the Sacred
Perseus - Basic Books

Naomi Klein:

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Thomas Legendre:

The Burning

David Livingstone:

Adam’s Ancestors: Race, Religion and the Politics of Human Origins
Johns Hopkins University Press

Robert Macfarlane:

The Wild Places
Granta Books

James Martin:

The Meaning of the 21st Century
Eden Project Books

Ian McDonald:

Gollancz, Orion

Joseph O’Neill:

4th Estate

Alex Ross:

The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century
4th Estate

Juan Gabriel Vasquez (translator: Anne McLean):

The Informers

Enrique Vila-Matas (translator: Jonathan Dunne):

Montano's Malady
New Directions

Ivan Vladislavic:

Portrait with Keys
Portobello Books

James Walvin:

The Trader the Owner the Slave
Jonathan Cape

For further information please contact:

Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager at the University of Warwick
Tel: 02476 523708 or 07767 655860

Elise Oliver or Ruth Cairns at Colman Getty
Tel: 020 7631 2666 Fax: 020 7631 2699
Email: or