Bestselling Welsh author Sarah Waters has been judged Writer of the Decade at Stonewall’s 10th and final awards ceremony held at the V&A last week (5th November).
The event, hosted by co-founder of the charity Ian McKellen, was attended by celebrities Charlie Condou, Jane Hill, Mary Portas, Doctor Ranj and Evan Davis, who helped present the awards in celebration of the contributions made to LGBT equality over the past decade.
Waters - a three-times Stonewall's Awards Writer of the Year (at its inaugural awards in 2006 and in 2009 and 2014) - was presented with the Writer of the Decade award by Davis, after fighting off competition from other past winners Val McDermid, Stella Duffy, Damian Barr and Alan Hollinghurst.
Waters was judged best of the past decade's winners by a panel of five judges, consisting of stand-up comedian Bethany Black, BP chief executive Lord Browne, style-guru Gok Wan, screen-writer Russell T Davies, and Sandi Toksvig, who it was recently announced will take over from Stephen Fry as host of the BBC's "QI".
Waters is the critically-acclaimed author of six novels to-date: Tipping the Velvet (1998), winner of the Betty Trask Award and adapted by screenwriter Andrew Davies and Sally Head Productions as the BAFTA-nominated series for the BBC; Affinity (1999), winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award and adapted for ITV; Fingersmith (2002), short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, the Orange Prize and winner of the CWA Historical Dagger; The Night Watch (2006), shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and Orange Prize again, and adapted for the BBC; The Little Stranger (2009), shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize once more and currently in development as a feature film by Potboiler Productions; and The Paying Guests (2014), which was shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. All books are published by Virago.
Ruth Hunt, chief executive of Stonewall, said at the ceremony: “We have come so far for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality – but we still have so much left to do. And to do that, and to be the change we want to see, we must continue to work together to achieve full equality.
“This year marks the final year for the Stonewall Awards but watch this space for something new next year, which will reflect all our communities and brings people from across those communities together. Acceptance without exception. Where all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, in Britain and abroad, can live freely as themselves without fear of persecution.”
This year marks the final Stonewall Awards to make way for something "more inclusive", as Hunt also explains in a blog: "It won’t be awards, but we think it will be even better."
Picture: Charlie Hopkinson