The Winner of the 2015 Warwick Prize for Writing has been announced: Phil Klay’s '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 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 biennial prize, run by the University of 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).
The award was presented at a special ceremony hosted by Warwick Chancellor, Sir Richard Lambert. The judging panel for the 2015 prize is chaired by Warwick Associate Professor, alumna and author A L Kennedy, who is joined by author and academic Robert Macfarlane, actor and director Fiona Shaw, Warwick alumnus and Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler and physician and writer Gavin Francis.
Students and staff at both universities were invited to make nominations alongside publisher submissions.
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.
The Prize is an extension of Warwick’s work as a champion and key enabler of the arts and creative industries. Former Warwick graduates include Jonathan Edwards, Emily Hasler and Claire Trevian.
In addition to winning the prize, Klay will be awarded the opportunity to take up a short placement at the University of Warwick furthering inspiring the next generation of writing talent.
To celebrate this years prize we’ve put together a special book with stunning extracts taken from the six shortlisted titles. With commentary from the judging panel and beautifully designed, this is a treat for anyone with an appreciation for innovative and exciting literature.
Copies are available to pick up from the library, University House atrium and the bookshop.