Clark and Montes win Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer’s Award

Clark and Montes win Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer’s Award

Journalist Philip Clark and novelist and essayist Javier Montes have been named as the winners of the Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer’s Award, at a reception at the British Library. 

Clark and Montes are each awarded £20,000 and a year’s writing residency at the British Library to develop their forthcoming books using the Library’s Americas collections, as well as the opportunity to showcase their finished work at Hay Festival events in the UK and Latin America.

Clark's forthcoming book Sound and The City will be published in English by White Rabbit Books. The project will use the British Library’s collections relating to the Harlem renaissance, United States immigration, African American newspapers and the civil rights movement, particularly material relating to the music of Black power.

The judges said: “Philip Clark’s proposal — a piecing together of 'the particles of New York’s sonic DNA' — promises to be an exhilarating journey through the great city’s landscape of sound and music, as well as its wider culture, history and architecture.”

Montes wins the 2022 Writer’s Award for Trópico de Londres (Tropic of London), the final instalment in a trilogy preceded by Varados en Río (Stranded in Rio) and Luz del Fuego. It will be published in Spanish by Anagrama and is described as a "hybrid of the detective novel, literary essay and the fictionalisation of historical figures". The final instalment focuses on the role of London as a destination for many Latin American artists, writers and intellectual exiles during the second half of the 20th century. His research will draw from the Library’s Latin American and Caribbean collections as well as oral histories, newspaper and music archives to weave together the socio-historical and political context of this story.

The judges said: “Tropic of London will tell the story of political emigres from Central South America and Brazil in London in the 1960s. We were drawn to a project which promises to uncover a little-known history of a generation who helped shape the cultural and political life of the UK.”

Clark and Montes were selected from a six-strong shortlist of writers hailing from Europe, North and South America. Including both fiction and non-fiction. Submissions for the 2023 Writer’s Award will open next summer. For more information, visit bl.uk/writers-award.