The James Tait Black Memorial Prizes are Britain’s oldest literary awards.
Two prizes, each of £10,000, are awarded annually by the University for the best work of fiction and the best biography published in the previous year.
They are the only awards of their kind to be presented by a university and have acquired an international reputation for recognising excellence in biography and fiction that continues today.
Founded in 1919 by Janet Coats, the widow of publisher James Tait Black, the prizes commemorate her husband’s love of good books.
Past winners of the fiction prize are a who’s who of the writing world and include Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith and Ian McEwan and literary giants such as D.H. Lawrence, E.M. Forster and Graham Greene.
Biography prize winners have recently included Janet Brown's account of Charles Darwin and Sue Prideaux's history of Edvard Munch.
Their works join those of Lytton Strachey, John Buchan and Lady Antonia Fraser as leading examples of the genre.
I am excited and delighted to win the James Tait Black Prize. It is a very distinguished and long-established award and I am happy to be amongst its list of winners.
Winner, Fiction Prize
The James Tait Black Prizes are presented in association with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the National Theatre of Scotland and the Traverse Theatre.
In 2012, as well as awarding the prizes as usual,we'll be making a special award for the "Best of the James Tait Black" in fiction.
Looking back across the first 90 years of the fiction award, we'll draw up a shortlist of authors, to be announced at the Edinburgh International Book Festival James Tait Black Event in August.
A panel of celebrity alumni and writers will then decide on a final winner, to be announced in December.
This article was published on Aug 14, 2012