Iraq war veteran Phil Klay has been named the winner of the Warwick Prize for Writing 2015 for Redeployment, a short story collection dealing with the American experience of the Iraq War, published by Canongate.
Klay was awarded the £25,000 prize for a “scaldingly affecting book” in the biennial interdisciplinary award run by the University of Warwick.
Redeployment chronicles the effects of the American war in Iraq, from the perspecitives of the soldiers on the frontline, the military wife at home, the military champlain and the veterans grappling with the effects of their dislocation. The collection depicts the many sides of humanity manifest in the combat zone, from aggression and the unwavering will to survive to compassion and guilt
A former Marine Officer, Klay’s stories are characterised by a "harrowing authenticity and a nuanced insight that can only be acquired through frontline experience," a spokesperson for the prize has said.
The Warwick Prize for Writing is awarded every two years for a substantial piece of writing in the English language. This year's theme was ‘Instinct’.
The chair of judges, A L Kennedy said: "Redeployment is a scaldingly affecting book. We were all held by it. There is remarkable control, delicacy and subtlety in the spare style of prose here and a real grip of various psychologies and voices across the collection. Within his own terms, the author has reflected a wide range of experience and has translated personal knowledge into living fiction. Redeployment addresses - with remarkable frankness and nuance - one of the defining conflicts of our age. We were delighted to give the prize to Phil Klay."
Klay’s Redeployment was joined on the shortlist by Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent’s Tail), Rebecca Goss’ Her Birth (Carcanet), Karl Ove Knausgaard’s A Man In Love (Harvill Secker), Marilynne Robinson’s Lila (Virago) and Mark Vanhoenacker’s Skyfaring (Chatto & Windus).
The award was presented at a ceremony hosted by Warwick Chancellor, Sir Richard Lambert. In addition to winning the £25,000 monetary prize, Klay was awarded the opportunity to take up a short placement at the University of Warwick.
The judging panel for the 2015 prize was chaired by Warwick Associate Professor, alumna and author A L Kennedy, who is joined by author and academic Robert Macfarlane, actor and director Fiona Shaw, Warwick alumnus and Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler and physician and writer Gavin Francis.
The Warwick Prize for Writing was founded in 2009.
Picture: Hannah Dunphy.