Harris wins Guardian First Book Prize

Harris wins Guardian First Book Prize

<p>Academic Alexandra Harris has won the <em>Guardian</em> First Book Award 2010 for her title about 20th-century English art, <em>The Romantic Moderns </em>(Thames &amp; Hudson).<br /><br />Harris was awarded the prize this evening (1st December) in an event at the Victoria &amp; Albert Museum in London.<br /><br /><em>Guardian </em>literary editor, Claire Armitstead, who chaired the judging panel, said: &quot;At a time when universities are threatened as never before, Alexandra Harris&#39; ground-breaking book is a reminder of how important higher education is to literature, and to culture as a whole.&quot;<br /><br />She added: &quot;Serious works of art history rarely win populist prizes, and often have trouble finding publishers at all. Yet the response from our Waterstone&#39;s reading groups, as well as from our central panel, showed that readers of all sorts are willing to engage with demanding books, if they are well written and beautifully produced. </p><p>&quot;I know we will be hearing a lot more from Alexandra in the future.&quot;<br /><br />Harris wins &pound;10,000 and an advertising package in the <em>Guardian</em> and the <em>Observer</em>.<br /><br />The other authors on the shortlist were: Ned Beauman&#39;s <em>Boxer, Beetle</em> (Sceptre), <em>Your Presence is Requested at Suvanto</em>, by Maile Chapman (Jonathan Cape); <em>Black Mamba Boy</em>, by Nadifa Mohamed (HarperCollins); and <em>Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error</em>, by Kathryn Schulz (Portobello Books).<br /><br />The titles were judged by a celebrity panel, along with five Waterstone&#39;s reading groups around the UK.<br /> </p>