Soli and Spurling win James Tait Black Prizes

Soli and Spurling win James Tait Black Prizes

Debut novelist Tatjani Soli and theatre critic Hilary Spurling have been awarded the James Tait Black Prizes, Britain’s oldest literary awards.

Soli’s The Lotus Eaters (HarperPress) was awarded the £10,000 fiction prize at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this evening (19th August). Former Spectator literary editor Spurling won the £10,000 biography prize for Burying the Bones: Pearl Buck in China (Profile).

Soli said: "The lineage of the James Tait Black Prizes speaks for itself, and I am humbled and so proud to be part of it. This award is an undreamed of honour that I will always treasure.”

Spurling added: "'I'm proud and pleased to be in the company of so many of my favourite writers, who've already won this first and most elegant of book prizes.”

Dr James Loxley, head of English literature at the University of Edinburgh said: "We're delighted to be honouring such outstanding works. The readers and judges have once again shown the acumen of the knowledgeable booklover and literary critic, which has been the hallmark of these prizes for more than 90 years."

The James Tait Black Prizes were founded in 1919 by Janet Coats, the widow of publisher James Tait Black. They are awarded to the best work of fiction and the best biography published during the previous calendar year.

Previous winners include A S Byatt, Angela Carter and Graham Greene.