Kathryn Hind, Stacey Halls and Okechukwu Nzelu are among the winners of this year's £100,000 Society of Author Awards.
Hind was awarded the £10,000 Betty Trask Prize for Hitch (Hamish Hamilton), described by judge Elanor Dymott as "an extraordinary take on the picaresque." Isabella Hammand's The Parisian (Jonathan Cape) Nzelu's The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney (Dialogue Books) and Hall's The Familiars (Zaffre) were the three winners of the Betty Trask awards, and each received £5,400.
Elena Arevalo Melville was awarded the £5,000 inaugural Queen's Knickers award for her "worthy winner" Umbrella (Scallywag Press). The award recognises an "outstanding children's original illustrated book", and includes runners-up Didier Lévy and Frederic Benaglia for How to Light Your Dragon (Thames & Hudson). They will receive £500 each.
The full list of winners sees Trinidadian debut author and Desmond Elliot Prize winner Claire Adam receive the £4,000 McKitterick prize for Golden Child (Faber), with Taffy Brodesser-Akner awarded the runner-up prize of £1,250 for Fleishman is in Trouble (Wildfire).
SoA chair Joanne Harris presented the awards via an online ceremony today (18th June). She said: “We’ve always said that receiving an SoA Award can be transformational for an author. They aren’t about promoting big corporate sponsors. They don’t seek out one big winner and say ‘This one’s best of all’. Each year, they reward the breadth and depth of books and words, and reward authors at the start of their careers as well as those well established.
"This year, as the health crisis makes authors’ precarious careers even more of a challenge to sustain, it is more important than ever to celebrate the work of today’s 32 winners.
"The nine Awards were judged as lockdown began. We announced the shortlists at the height of restrictions. And we’re celebrating today in videos and on social media, instead of with a crowd of five hundred at Southwark Cathedral. So perhaps it is a lucky coincidence that in the week we announce the winners, many of our bookshops have started to reopen. What better way to celebrate today’s winners by buying and reading them?”
The five poets each awarded £5,670 for the Eric Gregory awards are Susannah Dickey for Bloodthirsty Marriage, Natalie Linh Bolderston for Divinations on Survival, Roseanne Watt for Moder Dy, Kadish Morris for Poor but Sexy and Amina Jama for A Warning to the House That Holds Me.
The Somerset Maugham awards see four writers awarded £4,000 each. The awards were received by Alex Allison for The Art of the Body (Dialogue Books), Oliver Soden for Michael Tippet: The Biography (Orion), Roseanne Watt for Moder Dy (Birlinn Ltd) and Amrou Al-Kadhi for Unicorn (4th Estate).
Describing Unicorn, judge Nadifa Mohamed said the work was a "wild and untamed memoir that is told with such breathlessness and confidence that Al-Kadhi seems to be in the room with you. The story goes from familial love to aquariums to sexual identity and is enjoyable, and laugh out funny, all the way through."
The Cholmondeley award sees five poets awarded £2,100 for a body of work, and was won this year by Alec Finlay, Linda France, Hannah Lowe, Rod Mengham and Bhanu Kapil.
This year's recipient of the £1,000 ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust award is Wendy Riley for Eva at the End of the World. The runner-up is Diana Powell for Whale Watching. She will receive £575.
Travelling scholarships are awarded to British writers to "enable engagement with writers abroad, and are each worth £1,600. The 5 winners are author and columnist Luke Brown, poet playwright and designer Inua Ellams, journalist and author Georgina Lawton, previous Cholmondeley award recipeint Neil Rollinson and author and Booker prize shortlistee Ahdaf Soueif.
The £1,000 Paul Torday Memorial prize, which recognises a writer over 60, was won by Donald S Murray for As the Women Lay Dreaming (Saraband). Gabby Koppel's Reparation (Honno Press) is the runner-up.
Honno, Saraband and Scallywag were described as pioneers of "inclusivity with age, race and geography".