Musician Shirley Collins’ memoir All in the Downs (Strange Attractor) has won the Penderyn Music Book Prize for 2019.
Collins was announced as the winner at the Laugharne Weekend Festival on Sunday (7th April) where she was presented with a cheque for £1,000 and a bottle of Penderyn Single Cask Whisky.
Also on the shortlist was Coal Black Mornings by Brett Anderson (Little, Brown), Inner City Pressure: The Story of Grime by Dan Hancox (William Collins), Going For A Song: A Chronicle of the UK Record Shop by Garth Cartwright (Flood Gallery Publishing) and the Beastie Boys Book by Michael Diamond & Adam Horowitz (Faber).
“A legendary singer, folklorist, and music historian, Shirley Collins has been an integral part of the folk-music revival for more than 60 years,” prize organisers said. “All in the Downs combines elements of memoir - from her working-class origins in wartime Hastings to the bright lights of the 1950s folk revival in London - alongside reflections on the role traditional music and the English landscape have played in shaping her vision.”
One of the judges, Jude Rogers, called the book “a joyous, rolling, honest account of a life of an ordinary woman who just happens to be one of folk's greatest pioneers”.
The Penderyn Music Book Prize is organised by Richard Thomas, founder of the Laugharne Weekend, and is the only UK-based book prize specifically for music titles including history, theory, biography, autobiography. The award is sponsored by Welsh whisky company Penderyn, which has its distillery in the village of Penderyn in the Brecon Beacons.