Judges named for Sunday Times Young Writer Award

News - Prizes Friday, 07 June 2019

Victoria Hislop and Kate Clanchy join Andrew Holgate as judges of The Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award


The award-winning poet, writer and teacher Kate Clanchy and the best-selling author Victoria Hislop will join Andrew Holgate to judge The Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award this year. The 2019 shortlist will be announced on 3 November, the winner crowned on 5 December.

Kate Clanchy’s new book, Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me, which looks over her 30-year career in teaching, is garnering critical acclaim. Her poetry collection Slattern received a Forward Prize, her short story The Not-Dead and the Saved won both the 2009 BBC National Short Story Award and the VS Pritchett Memorial Prize. Meeting the English, a novel, was shortlisted for the Costa Prize.

Clanchy said: "However arbitrary an age limit, or random a label – generations of writers do exist. Writers a generation younger than me – generation meaning, young enough to be my child – see and write the world in a way I could never imitate. This prize gives me the extraordinary privilege of reading through a year ’s worth of novels, poetry and non-fiction by that younger generation, re-seeing the world through their eyes, and then rewarding some of them with the Young Writer of the Year Award. I have no doubt that picking a single winner will be hard, but I’m hugely looking forward to the process."

Victoria Hislop’s new novel, Those Who Are Loved, is set against the backdrop of the German occupation of Greece. Her books have been translated into more than 35 languages and have been bestsellers in China, Greece, France, Israel, Norway and the UK. She worked as a journalist and in publishing before writing her first novel, The Island, inspired by her love of Greece. Considered a modern classic, it sold over 5 million copies worldwide, and was turned into a 26-part Greek TV series.

She said: "It’s a great honour to have been invited to judge the Young Writer of the Year Award and I am very excited about reading the submissions."

Andrew Holgate has been the Literary Editor of The Sunday Times for ten years, and before that was the Deputy Literary Editor for nine. He has worked in bookselling, publishing and literary journalism, and has judged many other prizes, including the Samuel Johnson Award and the Somerset Maugham.

In 2018, Adam Weymouth won the award for his debut, Kings of the Yukon (Particular Books), a captivating, lyrical account of his epic voyage by canoe down the Yukon River. Weymouth followed the Irish writer Sally Rooney, who was awarded in 2017 for her debut Conversations with Friends (Faber). The 28-year-old has since been shortlisted for and awarded numerous prizes for this book and its successor, Normal People.

In 2016, Max Porter won with his genre-bending debut Grief is the Thing with Feathers (Faber & Faber); the poet Sarah Howe was awarded in 2015 for her first collection, Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus), which went on to win the T.S. Eliot Prize.

Founded in 1991 and administered by the Society of Authors, the Young Writer of the Year Award is for the best work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by a British or Irish author aged between 18 and 35. To qualify for the 2019 prize, books, which can either be published or self-published, must have first come out between 9 June, 2018 and 14 June, 2019.

The prize is worth £5,000 to the winner, and £500 to each of the three runners-up. The award was suspended in 2008, before its relaunch 2015. In 2019, after two years as associate sponsor, the University of Warwick assumed the title partnership of the prize.


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