Picador author Julia Lovell has won the Jan Michalski Prize for Literature, which recognises work which contributes to political and cultural understanding between the West and the East.
Lovell’s non-fiction work The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams and the Making of China was picked as the winner from a shortlist of three titles, which also included Austrian writer Martin Pollack and Yale professor Timothy Snyder.
The 50,000 Swiss franc prize (around £35,000) has been running for three years and in maintained by a Swiss foundation in memory of Jan Michalski, the co-founder and publisher of Noir sur Blanc.
It is open to both fiction and non-fiction books published in any language in the past five years, with members of an international jury each nominating two titles for consideration.
Lovell’s book, published in 2011, is the first non-fiction title to win the prize. The award was announced at a ceremony at the Maison de l’Ecriture in Montricher, Switzerland, on Thursday (22nd November).