Winners of UK’s oldest literary prize revealed at Edinburgh Book Festival
Writers Amit Chaudhuri and Keith Ridgway join the roll call of of authors whose works have won the James Tait Black Prize, which is awarded annually by the University of Edinburgh – with separate awards being made for fiction and biographies.
The prestigious prize is awarded every year by the University of Edinburgh, with author and broadcaster Sally Magnusson announcing this year’s winners during a special event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Dublin-born Keith Ridgway claimed the fiction prize for his book A Shock, which follows the lives of several different characters living in south London.
Judge Dr Benjamin Bateman, of Edinburgh University said it was a “sensitive, creative, and highly humane examination of lives that, in so much other fiction, would be relegated to the status of minor characters”.
Meanwhile, Chaudri won the biography prize for Finding the Raga: An Improvisation on Indian Music.
Biography judge Dr Simon Cooke, of Edinburgh University, described it as a “work of great depth, subtlety, and resonance, which unobtrusively changed the way we thought about music, place, and creativity”.
The James Tait Black Prizes, which see both winning writers collect £10,000, are distinctive in the way that they are judged, with two academic judges working with postgraduate student readers to assess the shortlisted books.
The awards were first given more than a century ago, but the format is still evolving, with greater involvement of students in the judging process this year.
Previous winners include William Golding, John Le Carre, Iris Murdoch, James Kelman, Ian McEwan and Martin Amis.
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