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The Warwick Prize for Writing: Longlist announced

The longlist for the third Warwick Prize for Writing has been announced. The list of 12 titles sees novelists and poets pitted against non-fiction authors including a theoretical physicist and an academic psychologist. Each stands to win the coveted prize of £25,000.

This biennial prize, run by Warwick, is unique as an international, cross-disciplinary award open to substantial pieces of writing in the English language, in any genre or form. The prize mirrors Warwick’s inclusive approach to the appreciation of literature.

The Warwick Prize for booksWriting 2013 longlist is:

  • Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science by Jim Al-Khalili (Penguin) – Non-fiction
  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (Jonathan Cape) - Fiction
  • Sufficient Grace by Amy Espeseth (Scribe) - Fiction
  • Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine (Icon Books) –Non-fiction
  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (4th Estate) - Fiction
  • River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh (John Murray) - Fiction
  • Cumulus by Robert Gray (John Leonard Press) - Poetry
  • The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally (John Murray) – Fiction
  • Suddenly, a Knock on the Door by Etgar Keret (Chatto & Windus) – Fiction
  • Book of Sins by Nidaa Khoury (House of Nehesi Publishers) - Poetry
  • The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane (Hamish Hamilton) – Non-fiction
  • Memorial by Alice Oswald (Faber and Faber) - Poetry

You can read more about each book online on the Warwick Prize for Writing website, and can buy most titles at the Book Shop in the Arts Centre.

The longlist includes six fiction, three non-fiction and three poetry books. From the golden age of Arabic science to 19th century opium merchants in India, and from the Australian war effort in France to the ancient network of routes criss-crossing the British landscape, the longlist highlights the prize’s diversity and international scope. Other themes include Palestinian poetry, a study of the claimed differences between the sexes and an adaptation of Homer’s The Iliad.

A number of the writers are already prize winners, including Thomas Keneally, Julian Barnes, Jonathan Franzen, Robert Gray, Robert MacFarlane and Alice Oswald.

The Chair of judges is Professor Ian Sansom of the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick, alongside acclaimed writer Marina Warner CBE and Professor Ed Byrne, Vice-Chancellor and President of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

On announcing the longlist, Professor Ian Sansom comments:

“This is an extraordinary longlist and demonstrates exactly why the Warwick Prize is unique. We have here books in every genre, from all around the world. The only difficulty now will be choosing a winner from among them.”

Naomi Klein was the inaugural winner of the prize in 2009, for her book The Shock Doctrine, an exposé of how a privileged few are making millions from worldwide disasters. Peter Forbes won the prize in 2011 for Dazzled and Deceived, a fascinating story of mimicry and camouflage in nature, art and warfare.

This year, for the first time, the nominations process has been expanded to include Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, following the recent creation of the Monash-Warwick Alliance. Staff and students at both universities were invited to make nominations from which the longlist was chosen by the judging panel.

A shortlist of six titles will be announced in August and the winner will be revealed in late September 2013.