Shortlist revealed for PEN/Ackerley Prize

Shortlist revealed for PEN/Ackerley Prize

English PEN has announced the shortlist for the 2013 PEN/Ackerley Prize for Memoir, given each year to a British literary memoir.

The shortlisted books are Will Cohu's The Wolf Pit (Chatto & Windus), Rachel Cusk's Aftermath (Faber), Colin Grant's Bageye at the Wheel (Jonathan Cape) and Richard Holloway's Leaving Alexandria (Canongate).

The PEN/Ackerley Prize was established in 1982 in memory of Joe Randolph Ackerley, an author and long-time literary editor of the Listener magazine. The prize is judged by biographer and historian Peter Parker, writer and painter Colin Spencer, author Georgina Hammick, and historian and biographer Richard Davenport-Hines.

Parker, chair of the judges, said: "Memoirs seem to be thinner on the ground than usual in 2013, and the judges called in only 24 titles. That said, we ended up with a very strong shortlist of four very different books, taking us into family secrets on the remote Yorkshire moors, a disastrously unravelling marriage on the South Coast, the touching relationship between a a boy and his feckless Jamaican father in Luton, and struggles with a religious vocation in Newark, Boston, Glasgow and Edinburgh. What all for books have in common is what the judges are always looking for: a startling frankness and writing of a very high quality."

The winner, who will receive a cheque for £2,500, will be announced at the English PEN summer party on 17th July.