A “fascinating” range of books including four titles from Faber & Faber have been shortlisted for Britain’s “oldest literary awards” - the James Tait Black fiction and biography prizes.
The four novels competing for the £10,000 fiction prize are Beatlebone by Kevin Barry (Canongate), The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall (Faber and Faber), The First Bad Man by Miranda July (Canongate), and You Don’t Have to Live Like This by Benjamin Markovits (Faber and Faber).
Fiction judge, Dr Alex Lawrie, from the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh, said: “The 2015 shortlist showcases the wit, energy and innovation that characterised a remarkably strong year for fiction.”
Contenders for the £10,000 biography prize include The Blue Touch Paper: A Memoir by David Hare (Faber and Faber), Bloomsbury’s Outsider: A Life of David Garnett by Sarah Knights (Bloomsbury), John Aubrey: My Own Life by Ruth Scurr (Chatto and Windus), 1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear by James Shapiro (Faber and Faber).
Biography judge, Dr Jonathan Wild from the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Once again our team of postgraduate readers have pointed us towards the cream of biographical writing.”
The two prizes are awarded annually for books published during the previous year – one for the best work of fiction and the other for the best biography.
The winners of the prize will be announced on 15th August at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Peter Ackroyd, Martin Amis, Kathryn Hughes and Claire Tomalin have previously won the biography prize and past fiction winners include Angela Carter, Graham Greene, D H Lawrence and Muriel Spark.