Judges for David Cohen Prize 2015 announced

Judges for David Cohen Prize 2015 announced
25 July 2014

We are pleased to announce the judges for the David Cohen Prize for Literature 2015.

Awarded biennially, the £40,000 prize honours a lifetime's achievement in literature for a writer in the English language who is a citizen of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland. Writer and broadcaster Mark Lawson commences his third term as Chair of Judges.


The winner of the David Cohen Prize is selected by a panel of judges comprising authors, literary critics and academics. This year's judging panel, comprises:


  • Dame Gillian Beer, author and King Edward VII Professor Emeritus at University of Cambridge and past President of Clare Hall college. 
  • Adam Begley, biographer and former books editor for The New York Observer
  • Melissa Benn, author, public speaker and journalist.
  • Susannah Clapp, author, theatre critic at The Observer and a regular broadcaster.
  • Blake Morrison, Professor of Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College.
  • Leo Robson, a freelance journalist specialising in literature and the arts.
  • Kamila Shamsie, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and author of six novels.
  • Michael Symmons Roberts, poet and author.


 Mark Lawson, Chair of Judges said:

Some literary prizes have to blush when they look back at eccentric or forgotten choices. But the 11 winners so far of the David Cohen Prize all looked good bets at the time and have maintained or even increased their stature subsequently. Four of the Cohen laureates also took the Nobel Prize in Literature and this is appropriate, as I think of the David Cohen Prize as being a Nobel for British and Irish authors.

The David Cohen Prize was established in 1992 by David and Veronica Cohen, and Arts Council England, and is recognised as one of Britain's most distinguished literary honours. The Prize has in the past been awarded to novelists, dramatists, poets and essayists.


The most recent recipient of the David Cohen Prize for Literature in 2013 was Hilary Mantel who joined a distinguished list of winners, including VS Naipaul, Harold Pinter and Muriel Spark. The winner of the 2015 prize will be announced at an evening ceremony at the British Library on Thursday 26 February 2015.


2013 winner Hilary Mantel said:

The David Cohen Prize is a vote of confidence, delivered by fellow-writers, academics, and practiced and informed readers. It is one of the greatest honours a writer can receive, because [as I know from my spell as a judge] the recipient is chosen by a fastidious process which allows wide-ranging debate. It is independent of fashion, and because it rewards a lifetime's work, it does not create false excitement by pitching one book or individual against another, or generate silly stories about personality clashes between judges.

Find out more about the David Cohen Prize judges


Hilary Mantel wins the 2013 David Cohen Prize




21 August 2014

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