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Top writers in running for literary prize

A Man Booker Prize nominee, an award-winning poet, and a best-selling American author have been shortlisted for Britain's oldest literary award.

James Naughtie presents Byron Rogers with the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography in 2007.

Mohsin Hamid, John Burnside and Daniel Mason have been nominated for the James Tait Black Memorial Prizes, along with Rosalind Belben and newcomer Gee Williams.

The Prizes are awarded annually by the University of Edinburgh for the best work of fiction and the best biography published during the previous year.

Contenders for the biography prize include fascinating accounts on two influential names from the Victorian age - philosopher and political economist John Stuart Mill, and architect Augustus Pugin who designed the Houses of Parliament.

There is also a book about blues singer Blind Willie McTell, novelist Edith Wharton and Joseph Stalin's early years.

The novels and biographies competing for the £10,000 prizes are:

Fiction shortlist

  • Our Horses in Egypt by Rosalind Belben;
  • The Devil's Footprints by John Burnside;
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid;
  • A Far Country by Daniel Mason;
  • Salvage by Gee Williams.

Biography shortlist

  • Hand Me My Travelin' Shoes: In Search of Blind Willie McTell by Michael Gray;
  • God's Architect: Pugin and the Building of Romantic Britain by Rosemary Hill;
  • Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee;
  • Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore;
  • John Stuart Mill:Victorian Firebrand by Richard Reeves.

James Tait Black Memorial Prizes

The James Tait Black Memorial Prizes are the only major British book awards judged by scholars and students of Literature.

The broadcaster James Naughtie will announce the winners at a ceremony at the Edinburgh International Festival in August.

James Tait Black Memorial Prizes