Zadie Smith and Paul Murray Among Writers Shortlisted for Writers’ Prize

Zadie Smith and Paul Murray Among Writers Shortlisted for Writers' Prize

A prestigious lineup of literary figures is set to contend for the coveted Writers’ Prize, formerly the Rathbones Folio Prize. The shortlist boasts renowned names such as Zadie Smith, Paul Murray, Naomi Klein, and Observer art critic Laura Cumming, among others, all vying for recognition in their respective categories.

Zadie Smith’s compelling historical novel ‘The Fraud’ and Paul Murray’s Booker-shortlisted narrative ‘The Bee Sting’ stand out in the fiction category. Anne Enright’s ‘The Wren’, a poignant portrayal of familial strife praised by Elizabeth Lowry in The Guardian, completes this shortlist section.

Meanwhile, in the nonfiction category, Laura Cumming’s ‘Thunderclap’, Mark O’Connell’s ‘A Thread of Violence’, and Naomi Klein’s exploration of political truth in ‘Doppelganger’ have captured attention.

The poetry collections also stand firm with Jason Allen-Paisant’s ‘Self-Portrait as Othello’, Liz Berry’s ‘The Home Child’, and Mary Jean Chan’s ‘Bright Fear’, which resonates deeply with themes of acceptance and self-discovery, as noted by The Observer’s poetry critic Kate Kellaway.

Three winners, one from each category, will receive a £2,000 prize, with an additional £30,000 awarded to the overall winner. However, this year marks a departure from the traditional judging panel, as the shortlists were determined by the esteemed members of the Folio Academy, comprising over 350 acclaimed writers.

Last year, Rathbones stepped down as the prize sponsor, prompting the rebranding of the award to the Writers’ Prize. The statement released then expressed gratitude to individuals, businesses, and the Folio Academy for sustaining the prize’s £36,000 fund. Notably, this year’s judging process involves academy members utilizing NetGalley to access all nine titles and vote for the winners.

Prize director Minna Fry expressed delight in the calibre of the shortlists, praising the selection for encapsulating the finest literature of 2023. She thanked the Folio Academy for their diligent curation and emphasized the significance of the financial backing from corporations and institutions in ensuring the prize’s continued success.

With the awards set to be announced at the London Book Fair on March 13th, Fry expressed hope that this year’s prize would validate the faith of supporters and secure funding for future editions. The award’s past laureates, including Margo Jefferson for her remarkable work ‘Constructing a Nervous System,’ exemplify the prestige associated with this honour.

The Writers’ Prize continues to stand as a beacon of literary excellence, celebrating exceptional authors and their contributions to the world of literature.

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