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The Warwick Prize for Writing longlist announced

WPFW logoThe longlist for the third Warwick Prize for Writing is announced today, Wednesday 19 June. 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 the University of 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 Writing 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

The titles include 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.

The judging panel

Professor Ian Sansom is a Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick and teaches on the Warwick Writing Programme. Educated at Oxford and Cambridge, he is former Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge and previously taught at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University, Belfast. He is the author of nine books, including The Truth About Babies, Ring Road, and the popular Mobile Library series of novels. Ian writes for the Guardian and is a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4.

Marina Warner CBE is a writer of fiction, criticism and history; her works include novels and short stories as well as studies of art, myths, symbols and fairytales. She read French and Italian as an undergraduate at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, of which she is now an Honorary Fellow. Since 2004 she has been a professor in the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex, and holds honorary doctorates from 11 different universities. Her books include Alone of All Her Sex, a study of the cult of the Virgin Mary, Phantasmagoria and the highly acclaimed Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights, which was published last year. She is currently working on a novel entitled Inventory of a Life Mislaid. Marina was made a CBE for services to literature in 2008.

Professor Ed Byrne became Vice-Chancellor and President of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, on 6 July 2009. He was a founding director of the Melbourne Neuromuscular Research Unit and the Centre for Neuroscience, and was made Professor of Experimental Neurology at the University of Melbourne in 2001. He first came to Monash University as the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, a role he held from 2003 until 2007. Professor Byrne was then appointed the Vice Provost (Health) at University College London (UCL) and held that position until becoming the eighth Vice-Chancellor at Monash University. The University of Melbourne awarded him a Doctor of Science, and he completed an MBA in 2005.

Notes to Editors

  • 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.
  • In addition to the £25,000 monetary prize, the winning author will be awarded the opportunity to take up a short placement at the University of Warwick.
  • The Monash-Warwick Alliance was established in 2011 and offers a new approach to global higher education. It aims to help meet the increasing student, industry and government demand for universities to produce graduates with a global education. To find out more about the alliance visit:



Further information

For further information about The Warwick Prize for Writing, please contact Lucy Chavasse at Four Colman Getty on 020 3697 4254, 07876 528 902 or

For further information about the University of Warwick, please contact Luke Harrison, Press and Communications Manager, on 02476 574 255, 07920 531 221 or

Useful links

Warwick Prize for Writing

@WarwickPrize on Twitter

Monash-Warwick Alliance