Zadie Smith and Paul Murray have been nominated for the Writers’ prize.
Zadie Smith, Paul Murray, and Naomi Klein are among the nominees for the Writers’ prize, formerly known as the Rathbones Folio prize.
The shortlist for fiction includes Smith’s initial historical book “The Fraud,” Murray’s Booker-shortlisted narrative “The Bee Sting,” and Enright’s “The Wren, the Wren,” which portrays a troubled family and was praised by Elizabeth Lowry in her Guardian review for its intimacy and ambiguity.
In the category of nonfiction, Thunderclap by Laura Cumming, art critic for the Observer, and A Thread of Violence by Mark O’Connell have been nominated for the award alongside Doppelganger, Klein’s examination of the role of truth in politics.
The final three choices for the shortlist include collections of poetry: Self-Portrait as Othello by Jason Allen-Paisant, The Home Child by Liz Berry, and Bright Fear by Mary Jean Chan.
Kate Kellaway, the poetry critic for The Observer, characterized the experience of reading Chan’s second collection as akin to assessing the sharpness of a knife and discovering it to be exquisitely honed. The collection delves into the journey of the poet’s parents in accepting their child’s sexuality.
A £2,000 prize will be given to a winner from each of the three categories, and one writer will be chosen as the overall winner and receive an extra £30,000.
During the previous Rathbones Folio prize event, it was revealed that Rathbones, an investment management company, would no longer be sponsoring the prize. Prize director Minna Fry also mentioned that they were in search of a new sponsor for the award.
In November of last year, the award revealed its new identity as the Writers’ Prize. The statement stated that the prize will continue to have a prize pool of £36,000, thanks to contributions from private individuals, book industry-related companies, members of the Folio Academy and Trusts.
Unfortunately, there is a change in the current situation where there is a lack of judges for this year’s award. Instead, the shortlists have been selected by the esteemed writers who make up the Folio Academy, consisting of over 350 members. After casting their votes for the shortlist, academy members will now have the opportunity to access all nine nominated titles through a collaboration with NetGalley, a company that supplies e-books to reviewers. The winners will then be determined by the votes of academy members and will be revealed at the London book fair on March 13th.
“I am extremely pleased with the shortlists for this year, as they showcase the finest literature of 2023 and feature a few titles that I thought would have been recognized in other awards,” Fry stated. “We are thankful to the academy for fulfilling their duty to recognize and commend these amazing books, and we eagerly await the announcement of the winners.”
The prize would not be possible without the financial backing from businesses, literary and charitable organizations, and members of the Folio Academy. The speaker hopes that this year’s prize will prove their trust in us and aid in obtaining funding for a successful future.
Margo Jefferson was awarded the Rathbones Folio prize last year for her remarkable and lyrical work, “Constructing a Nervous System.” Other recipients of this prestigious prize have included Colm Tóibín, Carmen Maria Machado, and Valeria Luiselli.