On 25 June £85,500 was distributed to writers at the Society of Authors’ annual Authors’ Awards. Novelist Sarah Waters (a previous recipient of a Betty Trask Prize and a Somerset Maugham Award) presented prizes to writers of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and English Language Teaching writing, at a ceremony held at the Army & Navy Club.
Debut novelist Ben Fergusson took the £10,000 Betty Trask Prize, while Goldsmiths PhD student Zoe Pilger received two awards for her first book – a Somerset Maugham Award and a Betty Trask Award.
Ben Macintyre won the £5,000 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography and non-fiction writers were also honoured in the Somerset Maugham Awards and Travelling Scholarships.
Maria C. McCarthy received £1,000 for her short story, More Katharine than Audrey.
The sparkling diversity of contemporary poetry was reflected with Cholmondeley Awards given to ‘the founding father of British experimental poetry’ J.H. Prynne and to Patience Agbabi whose work ‘straddl[es] page and performance’, while young poets working from a range of traditions were supported with Eric Gregory Awards.
Philip Kerr’s ‘new approach to using translation in language teaching’ was recognised with a British Council Award for ELT Writing.
About the Authors’ Awards
The Authors’ Awards are given to writers by writers – and many of the prizes are funded by bequests from writers. It’s a very special occasion when authors come together to celebrate excellence across genres by writers young and old, new and established.
Please click here to listen to a recording of Sarah Waters’ awards ceremony speech and to view our photo gallery.
The Betty Trask Prize
BEN FERGUSSON for THE SPRING OF KASPER MEIER (Little, Brown)
The £10,000 prize, from a bequest by Betty Trask in 1983, is given to a first novel of outstanding literary merit by an author under the age of 35, writing in a traditional or romantic style. Judges: Mike Gayle, Peter Kemp, Michèle Roberts.
The Betty Trask Awards
EMMA HEALEY for ELIZABETH IS MISSING (Viking)
ZOE PILGER for EAT MY HEART OUT (Serpent’s Tail)
SIMON WROE for CHOP CHOP (Viking)
The Betty Trask Awards are worth £5,000 each and are given to the three other authors shortlisted for the Betty Trask Prize.
The British Council Award for ELT Writing
PHILIP KERR for TRANSLATION AND OWN-LANGUAGE ACTIVITIES (Cambridge University Press)
The £2,000 prize recognises an outstanding contribution to English Language Teaching writing. The award is sponsored and supported by the British Council. Also commended was runner-up Patsy M. Lightbown for FOCUS ON CONTENT-BASED LANGUAGE TEACHING (Oxford University Press). Judges: Marion Cooper, Hitomi Masuhara and Hilary Parnall.
The Cholmondeley Awards
PATIENCE AGBABI, BRIAN CATLING, CHRISTOPHER MIDDLETON, PASCALE PETIT and J. H. PRYNNE
Each poet receives £1,500, from a fund founded by the late Dowager Marchioness of Cholmondeley in 1966 to recognise the achievement and distinction of individual poets. Judges: Mimi Khalvati, Rod Mengham, Fiona Sampson and Michael Symmons Roberts.
The Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biograhy
BEN MACINTYRE for A SPY AMONG FRIENDS: KIM PHILBY AND THE GREAT BETRAYAL (Bloomsbury)
A £5,000 prize generously sponsored by Flora Fraser and Peter Soros in affectionate memory of Elizabeth Longford, the acclaimed biographer. Judges: Roy Foster (Chair), Antonia Fraser, Flora Fraser, David Gilmour and Munro Price.
The Eric Gregory Awards
ROWAN EVANS, MIRIAM NASH, PADRAIG REGAN, STEWART SANDERSON and ANDREW WYNN OWEN
£4,500 each to poets under the age of 30 for a collection of work. Judges: Moniza Alvi, John Greening, Helen Ivory, Daljit Nagra, Denise Riley and Carol Rumens.
The McKitterick Prize
ROBERT ALLISON for THE LETTER BEARER (Granta)
A prize of £4,000, endowed by a former editor of the Political Quarterly, Tom McKitterick, and given to an author over the age 40 for a debut novel, published or unpublished. Also commended was runner-up PAUL EWEN for FRANCIS PLUG – HOW TO BE A PUBLIC AUTHOR (Galley Beggar Press). Judges: Paul Bailey, Christina Koning and Roma Tearne.
The Somerset Maugham Awards
JONATHAN BECKMAN for HOW TO RUIN A QUEEN: MARIE ANTOINETTE, THE STOLEN DIAMONDS AND THE SCANDAL THAT SHOOK THE FRENCH THRONE (John Murray)
LIZ BERRY for BLACK COUNTRY (Chatto & Windus)
BEN BROOKS for LOLITO (Canongate)
ZOE PILGER for EAT MY HEART OUT (Serpent’s Tail)
Each author receives £2,500 from a fund, set up by W. Somerset Maugham in 1947, to enable young writers to enrich their work through foreign travel. Awards are given for a published work of any genre (other than drama) by a writer under 35 and this year’s winners include a poet, two novelists and a non-fiction writer. Judges: Philip Hensher, Joanna Kavenna and Adam O’Riordan.
The Tom-Gallon Trust Award
MARIA C. MCCARTHY for MORE KATHARINE THAN AUDREY
A £1,000 award for a short story, in memory of Tom Gallon. Supported by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society. The runner-up is Caroline Price for VIN ROUGE. Judges: Elanor Dymott and Aamer Hussein.
The Travelling Scholarships
TAHMIMA ANAM, JAMES HALL, PHILIP TERRY and RUPERT THOMSON
Four writers receive £1,750 towards foreign travel. Assessors: Claire Armitstead, Richard Davenport-Hines, Maura Dooley, Adam Mars-Jones and Jane Ridley.