PEN Ackerley 2019 shortlist announced

News - Prizes Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Memoirs by Christian Donlan, Yrsa Daley-Ward, William Miller

Memoirs by Yrsa Daley-Ward, Christian Donlan and William Miller are shortlisted for the 2019 PEN Ackerley Prize for memoir and autobiography. The prize, worth £3,000 to the winner and given in memory of the literary editor and memoirist JR Ackerley, is judged this year by Peter Parker (chair), Colin Spencer, Georgina Hammick, and Claire Harman

Yrsa Daley-Ward, The Terrible (Penguin)
Christian Donlan, The Unmapped Mind (Viking)
William Miller, Gloucester Crescent (Profile)

Parker said: "We called in 26 autobiographies published in 2018, far fewer than last year but once again including books by both long-established and first-time authors. We eventually arrived at a shortlist of three, all of them very impressive debuts.

"There seemed to be an unusually large number of books about serious illness and death this year, but none in the same class as Christian Donlan’s account of his searching engagement with multiple sclerosis, which we included on our shortlist alongside William Miller's very funny recollections of growing up among the London intelligentsia and Yrsa Daley-Ward's utterly original book about perilously emerging into adulthood after a childhood among Seventh-Day Adventists in the north-west. It would be hard to imagine three books more different from each other, but we urge everyone to read them and offer our congratulations to their authors."

The winner will be announced on Tuesday 9 July at an event at Free Word, London EC1.

Photos from left: Christian Donlan, Yrsa Daley-Ward, William Miller

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