2011 judges: Don Paterson, Ali Smith and Sarah Waters
Edmund de Waal has won the £10,000 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, awarded annually to a work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry evoking the spirit of a place.
Sarah Waters called the book ‘a very worthy winner of this important literary prize – a stunning piece of writing, conjuring up one memorable location after another with economy and grace’.
Don Paterson admired de Waal’s use of the history of a family heirloom – a collection of delicate netsuke – ‘as a device to trace the growth of the anti-Semitism that led to the horror of the holocaust. It is pitch-perfect in its haunting evocation of time and place, and never slips into sentimentalism; his book is as smooth and perfect as his own ceramic works’.
Edmund de Waal is Professor of Ceramics at the University of Westminster and lives in London with his family. Apprenticed as a potter, he studied in Japan and read English at Cambridge. His porcelain is shown in museums around the world, and he has recently made installations for the V&A and Tate Britain.
For further information see www.rslit.org
Daily Telegraph Review.
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