· International fiction and non-fiction titles battle to win £50, 000 prize
· Mathematicians and economists compete against seven novelists and a poet
The Warwick Prize for Writing today announces a longlist which is set to redefine traditional forms of writing. For the first time, political scientists will compete against novelists, mathematicians against poets and economists against historians.
The £50, 000 inaugural prize, run by the University of Warwick, stands out as an international cross-disciplinary biennial award open to substantial pieces of writing in the English language, in any genre or form. The theme for the 2009 prize is ‘Complexity’.
The longlist consists of 20 titles, 12 non-fiction and eight fiction. Topics vary widely and include politics, maths, economics, global warming, slavery, nature, music, science fiction and poetry.
The longlist features a 2008 Pulitzer Prize and BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize finalist (New Yorker music critic Alex Ross), the 2008 British Science Fiction Association winner (Ian Mcdonald) and a 2008 Man Booker Prize longlisted author (Joseph O’Neill).
Non-fiction entries range from Portrait with Keys, Croatian-born Ivan Vladislavic’s depiction of modern South Africa to The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, award-winning Canadian journalist Naomi Klein’s critique of the global ‘free market’. Fiction works include American poet Rachel Blau Dupleissis’ long poem project Torques: Drafts 58-76 and first time novelist Thomas Legendre’s The Burning.
International entries include writers from Croatia, America, Canada, Australia, UK, Ireland, Spain and Columbia.
The judging panel for the prize is chaired by China Miéville, award-winning ‘weird fiction’ writer. Judges include journalist Maya Jaggi; novelist, translator and academic Maureen Freely; Britain’s first book blogger Stephen Mitchelmore and University of Warwick mathematician Professor Ian Stewart.
China Miéville comments: “The style, form, genre and content of the works on the list is incredibly varied; the quality is anything but. Getting from this longlist to a shortlist, let alone a winner, will demand exactly the kind of open-minded and argumentative reading the prize is designed for, and, we hope, start many conversations about literature.”
The Tiger That Isn’t, an investigation into political misuse of mathematical statistics, is the only co-authored piece amongst the list, written by Michael Blastland and Andrew Dilnot, the creator and presenter behind BBC Radio 4’s More or Less.
A shortlist of six titles will be announced on 23 January 2009. The winner will be announced on 24 February 2009 at the University of Warwick.
To find out more visit www.warwick.ac.uk/go/prizeforwriting