The prize money for this year’s Society of Authors’ Awards will exceed £100,000 for the first time, say organisers, as the Elizabeth Longford Prize shortlist is unveiled.
The SoA said the combined value of this year’s nine Awards will be “the highest yet”, with more than £100,000 to be handed out to novelists, poets and non-fiction writers in June as the shortlist for the £5,000 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography was revealed.
A Certain Idea of France: The Life of Charles de Gaulle by Julian Jackson (Allen Lane), Thomas Cromwell: A Life by Diarmaid MacCulloch (Allen Lane), Churchill: Walking with Destiny by Andrew Roberts (Allen Lane) and The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C Stewart (OUP) made the shortlist for the prize which will be judged by Richard Davenport-Hines, Roy Foster (chair), Antonia Fraser, Flora Fraser and Rana Mitter
Ben Brooks, Elanor Dymott and Vaseem Khan will judge the Betty Trask Award which honours a debut novel by a writer under 35. Previous winners include Zadie Smith and Sarah Waters.
“It's thrilling to read so many rich, perplexing, startling, strange and beautiful books for this prize,” said novelist Dymott. “It’s a continual reminder of what a luxury it is to sink into a really, really good novel, and how difficult it will be, when pressed, to choose the pick of the bunch.”
In poetry, Vahni Capildeo, Inua Ellams, John Greening, Katherine Pierpoint, Michael Symmons Roberts and Ahren Warner will judge the Eric Gregory Award with Jen Campbell, Barney Norris and Ian Thomson to pick the winner of the Somerset Maugham Award.
Honouring a first novel by a writer over 40, the McKittrick Prize will be judged by Susan Hill, Chris Taylor and Abir Mukherjee with Mark Lawson, Kate Mosse and Anita Sethi judging the inaugural Paul Torday Memorial Prize for a first novel by a writer over 60.
The ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award will be judged by Stuart Evers and Irenosen Okojie with Paul Farley, Drew Milne, Grace Nichols and Pascale Petit picking the winner of the Cholmondeley Award.
Travelling Scholarships will be judged by Tahmima Anam, Adam O’Riordan, Sameer Rahim, Jane Ridley and Gary Younge.
The 2019 Awards will take place at Southwark Cathedral on Monday 17th June, sponsored by ALCS, playing host to 500 guests from across publishing and SoA membership. Shortlists will be announced on Wednesday 15th May.