Polly Barton has won the 2019 Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize, an annual competition for British and Irish writers yet to have secured a publishing deal.
Barton, a literary translator, was awarded the prize for Fifty Sounds, a personal dictionary of the Japanese language, and a record of linguistic and cultural assimilation.
She will receive £3,000 as an advance against publication with Fitzcarraldo Editions and has the chance to spend up to three months in residency at the Mahler & LeWitt Studios in Spoleto, Italy, this summer to work on Fifty Sounds.
The winning proposal was one of 59 entries and one of five to be shortlisted for the prize, open to the best proposal for a book-length essay. Initially made possible by an Arts Council grant in 2015, it provides the winning author with their first experiences of publishing a book, from the planning, research and writing of it through to the editing, production and publicity stages.
In 2018, Joanna Pocock won the prize for Surrender, a narrative non-fiction work on the changing landscape of the west and the scavenger, rewilder and ecosexual communities, inspired by a two-year stay in Montana.
Her book will be published by Fitzcarraldo on 15th May.