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Warwick Prize for Writing 2015 Longlist Announced


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:

o Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume (Tramp Press) - Fiction

o We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (Serpent’s Tail) - Fiction

o Divided Lives by Lyndall Gordon (Virago) – Non-fiction

o Her Birth by Rebecca Goss (Carcanet) – Poetry

o The Dig by Cynan Jones (Granta) – Fiction

o Redeployment by Phil Klay (Canongate) – Fiction

o A Man In Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated by Don Bartlett (Harvill Secker) – Fiction

o The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science by Armand Marie Leroi (Bloomsbury) – Non-fiction

o Lila by Marilynne Robinson (Virago) – Fiction

o Ismael and His Sisters by Louise Stern (Granta) – Fiction

o Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (Scribe) – Non-fiction

o Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (Fourth Estate) – Fiction

o 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.

- ENDS -

For further information about The Warwick Prize for Writing, please contact:

Matt Railton at Four Colman Getty on 020 3697 4262

For further information about the University of Warwick, please contact:

Peter Dunn, Director of Press and Policy
University of Warwick
Tel UK 024 76523708 office 07767 655860 mobile
Tel Overseas: +44 (0)24 76523708 office +44 (0)7767 655860 mobile/cell

Notes for Editors

  • The University of Warwick is one of the UK’s leading research universities. It is consistently ranked in the top 10 of all the University league tables produced by UK national newspapers, and is ranked 7th among the UK's 100 universities for quality of research
    • The £25,000 Warwick Prize is entirely self-funded by the University of Warwick. The University is able to make such an investment as it generates the majority of its own income
      • The Warwick Commission on Cultural Value was a one-year Commission launched in November 2013, chaired by Vikki Heywood CBE. A diverse group of cultural leaders and University of Warwick academics were invited to develop new policy thinking and practical recommendations to enable the flourishing and long-term sustainability of culture and creativity in Britain. In February 2015, its findings were published in Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth, reinforcing the creative industries as an integral part of the UK economy, highlighting its importance in generating economic and cultural wellbeing in Britain, and the need for further investment

      About the judging panel

      A.L. Kennedy (Chair)

      A.L.Kennedy was born in Dundee in 1965. She is the author of 15 books: 6 novels, 6 short story collections and 3 works of non-fiction. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

      Her new book “All The Rage” – a collection of short stories – was published by Jonathan Cape in spring 2014. It will soon appear in the US and Canada. She is also a dramatist for the stage, radio, TV and film.

      She writes for a number of UK and overseas publications and has a blog with The Guardian Online.

      Gavin Francis

      Gavin Francis is a practising GP and the author of True North and Empire Antarctica; the latter was winner of Scottish Book of the Year 2013, and shortlisted for the Costa Prize and Ondaatje Prize. He writes regularly for the Guardian and the London Review of Books and his next book, Adventures in Human Being will be released in May 2015.

      Robert Macfarlane

      Robert Macfarlane is the author of Mountains of the Mind (2003), The Wild Places (2007), The Old Ways (2012) and Holloway (2013). His books have won numerous prizes, been widely translated, and adapted for television and radio. He is a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. In 2013 he chaired the jury for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction; the same year his book The Old Ways was shortlisted for the Warwick Prize.

      Fiona Shaw

      Fiona Shaw is one of the most recognised actors of her generation, known for both her theatre work (Hedda Gabler, Medea, Mother Courage) and for her film work (Harry Potter series, Three Men and A Little Lady). In addition to her highly praised acting work Fiona has recently directed Riders to the Sea, Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers and The Marriage of Figaro for English National Opera, and The Rape of Lucretia for Glyndebourne, which will also be revived for the Deutsche Oper, Berlin in November 2014.

      Tony Wheeler

      A trek across Asia on the ‘hippie trail’ of the early 1970s led Tony Wheeler to write the first Lonely Planet guide and the New York Times to describe him as ‘the trailblazing patron saint of the world’s backpackers and adventure travellers.’

      Since departing Lonely Planet Tony has been involved with the Planet Wheeler Foundation’s work in South-East Asia and East Africa and Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing & Ideas. Tony is also a director of Global Heritage Fund which works to protect and develop archaeological sites in the developing world.

      His most recent book, Dark Lands, is a follow up to Bad Lands, his journey along George W Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ and assorted other bad countries.

      About the University of Warwick’s 50th anniversary

      In less than fifty years since being founded Warwick has become one of the UK’s best universities, consistently at the top of UK league tables, and rapidly climbing the international league tables of world class universities.

      A key driver of the Warwick success story so far is our entrepreneurial spirit, our relevance to society and our close links with business and industry. We create new ways of thinking and achieving: making us stand out, and creating an inspiring place to study and undertake research. Warwick has come a long way in a short space of time, and our success is driven by the exceptional talent of our staff, students and alumni, and of course the continuing support and commitment of our partners in the wider community.

      The University of Warwick will mark its 50th anniversary in 2015 with a year of exciting events and activities, the centrepiece of which will be the Festival of the Imagination which will take place on campus on 16-17 October 2015. The Festival will showcase the work we do at Warwick through a diverse and lively programme of events, talks, demonstrations and discussions, all focused around

      19th June 2015

      Further Information:

      Peter Dunn, Director of Press and Policy Tel UK 024 76523708 office 07767 655860 mobile Tel Overseas: +44 (0)24 76523708 office +44 (0)7767 655860 mobile/cell Email