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26.08.08 | Katie Allen
Rosalind Belben won this year's James Tait Black Memorial fiction prize for her novel Our Horses in Egypt (Vintage), with Rosemary Hill awarded the biography prize for God's Architect: Pugin and the Building of Romantic Britain (Penguin).
The winners of this year's prizes were revealed on Friday (22 August) at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, chosen from a 10-strong shortlist that included Simon Sebag Montefiore and Man Booker-shortlisted author Mohsin Hamid.
Manager and novel judge of the awards, Professor Colin Nicholson of the University of Edinburgh, said: "Each of the shortlisted books are prizeworthy, but two books shone for their readability—Rosalind Belben's novel was innovatively plotted and convincingly executed, while Rosemary Hill's first book is a biography that does justice to the many facets of the man Augustus Pugin and his work."
Each winner will receive £10,000. The James Tait Black Prizes are awarded annually by the University of Edinburgh for the best work of fiction and the best biography published during the previous year. They are the only major British book awards judged by scholars and students and are Britain's oldest literary prizes, founded in 1919.
The fiction shortlist:
Our Horses in Egypt by Rosalind Belben (Vintage)
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (Penguin)
The Devil's Footprints by John Burnside (Vintage)
A Far Country by Daniel Mason (Picador)
Salvage by Gee Williams (Alcemi)
The biography shortlist:
Hand Me My Travelin' Shoes: In Search of Blind Willie McTell by Michael Gray (Bloomsbury)
God's Architect: Pugin and the Building of Romantic Britain by Rosemary Hill (Penguin)
Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee (Vintage)
Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore (Orion)
John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand by Richard Reeves (Atlantic)