The shortlist for the third Warwick Prize for Writing was announced today, Friday 30 August, at a special event as part of Melbourne Writers' Festival, Australia.
The judges' selection of six titles, from a longlist of twelve, encompasses works of fiction, science, history and poetry vying for the £25,000 biennial prize.
The Warwick Prize for Writing 2013 shortlist is:
- Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science by Jim Al-Khalili (Penguin) – Non-fiction
- Sufficient Grace by Amy Espeseth (Scribe) - Fiction
- Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine (Icon Books) –Non-fiction
- Suddenly, a Knock on the Door by Etgar Keret (Chatto & Windus) – Fiction
- The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane (Hamish Hamilton) – Non-fiction
- Memorial by Alice Oswald (Faber and Faber) - Poetry
The varied and international shortlist, which features works from British, Iraqi-British, Canadian-British, American-Australian and Israeli authors, includes one poetry, three non-fiction and two fiction titles. The selected authors include the chair of judges for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2013, Robert Macfarlane, theoretical physicist and broadcaster JimAl-Khalili and 2002 T.S. Eliot Prize winner Alice Oswald. Exemplifying the prize's inclusive approach, the shortlist includes a richly imaginative poetic reworking of Homer's Iliad, a polemical look at the science behind sexual difference and a debut novel set in a religious community in rural Wisconsin.
The prize was founded in 2009 and is run by the University of Warwick. It is unique as an international, cross-disciplinary award open to substantial pieces of writing in the English language, in any genre or form. This year, for the first time, the nominations process has been expanded to include Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, following the formation of the Monash-Warwick Alliance. Students and staff at both universities were invited to make nominations from which the judging panel has made their selection.
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 Professor Marina Warner CBE and Professor Ed Byrne, Vice-Chancellor and President of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
Professor Ian Sansom comments;
My fellow judges and I are thrilled to have arrived at this diverse list of works of undeniable quality after many hours of reading. We believe the shortlist exemplifies the inclusive approach to the appreciation of literature that the Warwick Prize for Writing was established to promote.
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.
The winner will be announced at a ceremony held at the Wallace Collection, London, on 24 September 2013.
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.
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