Robert Johnson biography wins Penderyn Music Book Prize

Robert Johnson biography wins Penderyn Music Book Prize

Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow have won this year's Penderyn Music Book Prize for their co-authored biography, Up Jumped The Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson (Omnibus Press).

The biography explores the truth behind the blues musician, and seeks to dispel the popular legend that he sold his soul to the devil at a set of crossroads, in exchange for his talent.

Conforth said: “My co-author, Gayle Dean Wardlow and I are thrilled and honoured to accept the 6th Annual Penderyn Prize on behalf of Robert Johnson. To have our book be picked ahead of so many other worthy publications is truly overwhelming. By doing away with the myths and providing the most comprehensive facts possible we wanted to give Robert his life back.

"In the process we found that the truth was far more interesting, more identifiable, and more tragic than any of the fantastic myths told about him. We owe great thanks to the judges and to Chicago Review Press, our American publisher, and Omnibus Press for printing our book in the UK."

The prize is organised by Richard Thomas, founder of the Laugharne Weekend festival, specifically for music titles including history, theory, biography and autobiography. The winners will receive a cheque for £1,000 and a bottle of Penderyn Single Cask Whisky.