Prize book makes its mark with new students

More than 5,000 new undergraduates are to be presented with this year’s winning book from the James Tait Black Prizes, Britain’s oldest literary awards.

New undergraduates studying at the University of Edinburgh will receive a copy of You and I by acclaimed American novelist Padgett Powell in an initiative designed to promote reading for all.

Students who receive a copy of the book will be invited to sign up to an on-line forum for discussion and debate.

Forum for debate

The prizes were established by Janet Coats, the late widow of publisher James Tait Black, to commemorate her deceased husband’s love of reading. They are the only major British book awards judged by scholars and postgraduate literature students.

The gift continues the great legacy of the James Tait Black prizes which were founded in 1919.

The prizes are for the best work of fiction and the best biography published during the previous 12 months.

The James Tait Black's roster of former winners includes some of the best writers in the literary canon with past winners including DH Lawrence, Ian McEwan and Cormac McCarthy.

The University is immensely proud of its association with the James Tait Black Prizes. Whichever subjects students choose to study at university, we believe it's important that they should always find the time to read stimulating literature. We hope students enjoy reading this commendable work of literature and that their interest in the James Tait Black prizes is ignited.

Professor Dorothy MiellHead of the University of Edinburgh’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Fiction winner Padgett Powell, who is a Professor of writing at the University of Florida, saw off competition from authors including ManBooker Prize nominee A.D. Miller and Scots writer Ali Smith, who also made the fiction shortlist in 2006 and 2011.