Barry and Holroyd scoop James Tait Black Prizes

<p>Sebastian Barry&#39;s Costa Book of the Year winner <em>The Secret Scripture</em> (Faber) has won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, with Michael Holroyd picking up the prize for biography for <em>A Strange Eventful History </em>(Vintage).<br /><br />The annual awards are worth &pound;10,000 each and have been awarded by the University of Edinburgh since 1919; they are the only major British literary awards judged by scholars and students.<br /><br />Judge professor Colin Nicholson said all the shortlisted books were worthy of the prize, reported the BBC. He added: &quot;It was a very strong field of submissions this year, so that even coming to the shortlist was more than usually difficult.</p><p>&quot;Each of our final contenders is a prize-worthy example of the writer&#39;s craft.&quot;</p><p>The fiction shortlist comprised: <em>Sputnik Caledonia</em> by Andrew Crumey (Picador); <em>A Mercy </em>by Toni Morrison (Vintage); <em>The Secret Scripture </em>by Sebastian Barry (Faber); <em>A Case of Exploding Mangoes </em>by Mohammed Hanif (Vintage); <em>Pilcrow </em>by Adam Mars-Jones (Faber).<br /><br />Biography shortlist comprised: <em>Arthur Miller 1915-1962</em> by Christopher Bigsby (Weidenfeld); <em>A Strange Eventful History: The Dramatic Lives of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and their Remarkable Families</em> (Vintage) by Michael Holroyd; <em>Gabriel Garc&iacute;a M&aacute;rquez: A Life </em>by Gerald Martin (Bloomsbury); <em>Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love</em> by Sheila Rowbotham (Verso); <em>Chagall: Love and Exile </em>by Jackie Wullschlage (Allen Lane). </p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p>