Tuesday, May 02, 2006

2005 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction & Biography

ALI SMITH has made the shortlist for Britain’s oldest literary accolade, the 2005 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. Of course, Smith’s Booker-shortlisted tale of a family on a summer holiday that is interrupted by the arrival of a mysterious guest was shortlisted for the Orange Prize a week ago and has already won the 2006 Whitbread Novel Prize.

The James Tait Black Memorial Prize is renowned for its high literary standards, and Smith is up against a strong field, which includes Ian McEwan’s Saturday, and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. Also on the shortlist are Joyce Carol Oates for Mother, Missing, Andre Brink for Praying Mantis, and Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala.

Established in 1919, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize is one of the most venerable on the awards roster and its past winners include some of the 20th century’s greatest writers, from D.H. Lawrence and E.M. Forster to Evelyn Waugh and Iris Murdoch.

Praying Mantis / André Brink (Secker and Warburg, 2005)
Never Let Me Go / Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber and Faber, 2005)
Beasts of No Nation / Uzodinma Iweala (John Murray, 2005)
Saturday / Ian McEwan (Jonathan Cape, 2005)
Mother, Missing / Joyce Carol Oates (Fourth Estate, 2005)
The Accidental / Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton, 2005)

Siegfried Sassoon: A Biography / Max Egremont (Picador, 2005)
Haw-Haw: The Tragedy of William and Margaret Joyce / Nigel Farndale (Macmillan, 2005)
The Pursuit of Victory: The Life and Achievement of Horatio Nelson / Roger Knight (Allen Lane, 2005)
Stuart: A Life Backwards / Alexander Masters (Fourth Estate 2005)
Voltaire Almighty: A Life in Pursuit of Freedom / Roger Pearson (Bloomsbury, 2005)
Edvard Munch: Behind the Scream by Sue Prideaux (Yale University Press, 2005)

The winners will be announced on June 7, 2006


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