Congratulations to Phil Klay, who has been named the winner of the Warwick Prize for Writing 2015 for Redeployment, a short story collection dealing with the American experience of the Iraq War, published by Canongate.
Redeployment chronicles the effects of the American war in Iraq, from the perspectives of the soldiers on the frontline, the anguished military wife at home, the military chaplain and the veterans grappling with the effects of their dislocation. A former Marine Officer, Klay’s stories are characterised by a harrowing authenticity that can only be acquired through frontline experience.
The Warwick Prize for Writing is awarded every two years for a substantial piece of writing in the English language and this year’s theme is ‘Instinct’. Redeployment depicts the many sides of humanity manifest in the combat zone, from aggression and the unwavering will to survive to compassion and guilt.
On announcing the winner, the chair of judges, Professor AL Kennedy commented:
Redeployment is a scaldingly affecting book. We were all held by it. There is remarkable control, delicacy and subtlety in the spare style of prose here and a real grip of various psychologies and voices across the collection. Within his own terms, the author has reflected a wide range of experience and has translated personal knowledge into living fiction. Redeployment addresses - with remarkable frankness and nuance - one of the defining conflicts of our age. We were delighted to give the prize to Phil Klay."
A New York Times bestselling author, and author of one of the most highly acclaimed pieces of fiction in 2014, Klay served in Iraq during the surge before studying creative writing with Peter Carey, Colum McCann and Richard Ford. The award was presented at a special ceremony hosted by Warwick Chancellor, Sir Richard Lambert.
The biennial prize, run by Warwick, is uniquely international and cross-disciplinary award, open to any genre or form of writing. Klay’s Redeployment was joined on the shortlist by Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent’s Tail), Rebecca Goss’ Her Birth (Carcanet), Karl Ove Knausgaard’s A Man In Love (Harvill Secker), Marilynne Robinson’s Lila (Virago) and Mark Vanhoenacker’s Skyfaring (Chatto & Windus).