This year's shortlists for the James Tait Black Prizes, Britain's longest-running book awards, has been announced.
The prizes are for the best work of fiction and biography published in the previous 12 months. Presented by the University of Edinburgh since 1919, they are the only major British book prizes judged by literature scholars and students.
Nominees for the £10,000 fiction prize are Alligator & Other Stories by Dima Alzayat (Picador), The First Woman by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Oneworld), A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet (W W Norton) and Lote by Shola von Reinhold.(Jacaranda).
Fiction judge Dr Benjamin Bateman said: “These books represent the very best qualities of global anglophone literature—epic, experimental, and engaged with pressing concerns both political and planetary.”
The shortlist for the £10,000 biography prize features The Warrior, the Voyager, and the Artist: Three Lives in an Age of Empire by Kate Fullagar (Yale), A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa (Tramp Press), Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture by Sudhir Hazareesingh (Allen Lane) and Recollections of My Non-Existence by Rebecca Solnit (Granta).
Biography judge Dr Simon Cooke commented: “These bold, generous, and radiant books expand the reach of life-writing in exhilarating ways: alive to the stakes of shaping life through form and voice, each is uniquely and profoundly attuned to the ways individual lives can resonate powerfully with other lives, other places, other times.”
The winners of both prizes will be announced in August at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which will take place from its new home at the University’s Edinburgh College of Art.