David Cohen Prize 2011
Writer and broadcaster Mark Lawson was the 2011 Chair of Judges, and will oversee the next five instalments of the prize. He replaced former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion who was chair for ten years until 2009.
The winner of the David Cohen Prize is nominated and selected by a panel of judges comprising authors, literary critics and academics.
Mark Lawson, Chair of Judges, commented:
Because the David Cohen Prize rewards sustained excellence over a long period, the candidates include the greatest living names in British and Irish literature: authors I studied at school and university, have read with pleasure over decades and regularly reviewed and interviewed as a cultural journalist. So, although it will be difficult for the judges to choose only one of them, it is also an honour to have the chance to do so. The David Cohen Prize feels to me like the closest we have in this country to a Nobel Prize for Literature.
Ellah Allfrey is Deputy Editor at Granta, Senior Literary Editor at Jonathan Cape, formerly of Penguin.
Simon Armitage is a poet, playwright, novelist and senior lecturer in the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Michael Billington is the Guardian's theatre critic, former presenter on Kaleidoscope (now Front Row), author of several biographical and critical studies of subjects relating to British theatre and the arts.
Sarah Churchwell is a lecturer in English Literature and Culture at UEA. She writes regularly for the Guardian, the Independent, the New York Times Book Review, and the TLS.
Tobias Hill is a poet, essayist, writer of short stories and novelist, inaugural Programme Director of the Faber Academy. He was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 2002/2004.
Kathryn Hughes is a professor in the School of Literature and Creative Writing at UEA, Norwich. She is the author of three books of biography, most recently on Mrs Beeton. Her literary journalism appears in the Guardian newspaper.
Mark Lawson is a journalist, broadcaster and author.
He is a columnist and feature writer for The Guardian, columnist for the New Statesman and theatre critic of The Tablet. As a writer-presenter in TV and radio, his work includes Front Row and Capturing America: A History of Modern American Literature (all BBC Radio 4) and the TV interview series Mark Lawson Talks To...... for BBC4. He presented BBC2's weekly arts round up from 1993 to 2005 under the titles Late Review, Review and Newsnight Review. He has published five works of fiction including Bloody Margaret, Idlewild, Going Out Live, Enough is Enough and, most recently, The Deaths - and a travel book: The Battle for Room Service. He has written many dramas for radio - including The Third Soldier Holds His Thighs and What Did I Say? - and for TV: The Vision Thing, Absolute Power. He has chaired the David Cohen Prize since 2011.
Karl Miller is a literary editor, critic and writer formerly Editor at New Statesman and the London Review of Books, he was also head of the English Department at University College London until 1992.
Michael Prodger is the Literary Editor of the Sunday Telegraph, he also works for The Spectator. He was a judge on the BBC4 Samuel Johnson Prize in 2006 and the Man Booker 2009.
About the David Cohen Prize 2011
Celebrating a lifetime’s achievement in literature
Established in 1993, the David Cohen Prize for Literature is one of the UK’s most distinguished literary prizes. It recognises writers who use the English language and are citizens of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, encompassing dramatists, as well as novelists, poets and essayists. Former winners include V S Naipaul, Harold Pinter, William Trevor, Doris Lessing, Seamus Heaney and, most recently in 2013, Hilary Mantel.
The biennial prize, of £40,000, is for a lifetime’s achievement and is donated by the John S Cohen Foundation. Established in 1965 by David Cohen and his family, the trust supports education, the arts, conservation and the environment. Arts Council England provides a further £12,500 (The Clarissa Luard Award) to enable the winner to encourage new work, with the dual aim of promoting young writers and readers.
Previous winners of the David Cohen Prize for Literature and recipients of the Clarissa Luard Award (in italics)
1993 V S Naipaul An award for a young biographer or cultural historian, administered by the Society of Authors, won by Rosemary Hill
1995 Harold Pinter The Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, for the development of young playwrights
1997 Muriel Spark The library of James Gillespie's High School, Edinburgh (the inspiration behind The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie)
1999 William Trevor An award for a young writer from Omagh in Co. Tyrone, administered by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
2001 Doris Lessing The Art of Regeneration, in association with the Royal National Theatre
2003 Beryl Bainbridge and Thom Gunn (joint winners) The Arvon Foundation and the Kings Lynn Literature Festival
2005 Michael Holroyd Royal Society of Literature/ Jerwood Foundation Award for Non-Fiction, awarded to Alice Albinia
2007 Derek Mahon Gallery Press, Ireland
2009 Seamus Heaney Poetry Aloud!
2011 Julian Barnes The Reading Agency
2013 Hilary Mantel Katie Ward