Duffy hails 'happy night' of Authors Awards

Duffy hails 'happy night' of Authors Awards

Writers Grace McLeen, Anne Somerset and Alison Moore were among the 24 authors given Society of Authors' Authors Awards at a ceremony in London last night (13th June).

A total of £70,000 was awarded at the event, described by poet Carol Ann Duffy, who presented them, as "a rare happy night" in a year that was so far proving "barbaric" for arts funding.

The Betty Trask Prize (£8,000) for a first novel went to Grace McCleen for The Land of Decoration (Chatto & Windus); Betty Trask Awards went to Chibundu Onuzo for The Spider King's Daughter (Faber), winning £7,000; and Francesca Segal for The Innocents (Chatto & Windus) and Will Wiles for Care of Wooden Floors (Fourth Estate) both receiving £2,500.

The Elizabeth Longford Prize (£5,000) went to Anne Somerset for Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion (Harper Press). Meanwhile The McKitterick Prize (£4,000), awarded to an author over the age of 40 for a first novel, went to Alison Moore for The Lighthouse (Salt).

Somerset Maugham Awards went to Ned Beauman for The Teleportation Accident (Sceptre), Abi Curtis for The Glass Delusion (Salt), Joe Stretch for The Adult (Cape) and Lucy Wood for Diving Belles (Bloomsbury), with each receiving £2,500.

Poets John Clegg, Kate Gething-Smith, Matt Haw and Oli Hazzard received Eric Gregory Awards (£4,000 apiece). Simon Armitage, Paul Farley, Lee Harwood and Medbh McGuckian each received £1,500 Cholmondeley Awards recognising achievement and distinction in poetry.

Travelling Scholarships enabling authors to travel and keep in touch with colleagues abroad went to Elizabeth Cook, James Fergusson, Kathleen Jamie and Olivia Laing (£1,500 apiece).

The Tom-Gallon Trust Award (£1,000) for a short story went to Samuel Wright.

The British Council Award for ELT Writing (£2,000) went to Jeremy Harmer for Essential Teacher Knowledge: Core Concepts in English Language Teaching (Pearson).

Duffy remembered how much winning an Eric Gregory award herself in 1984 had meant to her. She said she had "mixed views" about prizes because, "It is wonderful to win them, but there are not enough to go around." The poet laureate added: "Three decades ago the politics of the 1980s seemed hard indeed; 2013 has so far been barbaric for arts funding and tonight is a rare happy night."