The James Tait Black Memorial Prizes are literary prizes awarded for literature written in the English language. They, along with the Hawthornden Prize, are Britain's oldest literary awards. Based at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, United Kingdom, the prizes were founded in 1919 by Janet Coats Black in memory of her late husband, James Tait Black, a partner in the publishing house of A & C Black Ltd. Prizes are awarded in three categories: Fiction, Biography and Drama (since 2013).
|James Tait Black Memorial Prizes|
|Awarded for||Awarded for literature written in the English language|
From its inception, the James Tait Black prize was organised without overt publicity. There was a lack of press and publisher attention, initially at least, because Edinburgh was distant from the literary centres of the country. The decision about the award was made by the Regius Chair of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres at the University of Edinburgh.
Four winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature received the James Tait Black earlier in their careers: William Golding, Nadine Gordimer and J. M. Coetzee each collected the James Tait Black for fiction, whilst Doris Lessing took the prize for biography. In addition to these literary Nobels, Sir Ronald Ross, whose 1923 autobiography Memoirs, Etc. received the biography prize, was already a Nobel laureate, having been awarded the 1902 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on malaria.
In 2012, a third prize category was announced for Drama, with the first winner of this award announced in August 2013.
Selection process and prize administrationEdit
The winners are chosen by the Professor of English Literature at the university, who is assisted by postgraduate students in the shortlisting phase, a structure which is seen to lend the prizes a considerable gravitas. At the award of the 2006 prizes, at which Cormac McCarthy was a winner, McCarthy's publisher commented positively on the selection process noting that, in the absence of a sponsor and literary or media figures amongst the judging panel, the decision is made by "students and professors, whose only real agenda can be great books and great writing". The original endowment is now supplemented by the university and, as a consequence, the total prize fund rose from 2005 awards. Each of the three annual prizes—one for fiction, one for biography, and one for drama—is worth £10,000. The university is advised in relation to the development and administration of the Prize by a small committee which includes Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith and James Naughtie amongst its members. In August 2007 the prize ceremony was held at the Edinburgh International Book Festival for the first time.
For the book prizes works of fiction and biographies must be written in English. The nationality of the author does not matter, but submissions must be first published (or co-published) in Britain during the calendar year of the award. Any given author can only win each prize once. However, he or she can win both prizes at the same time.
For the drama category, the work must be originally written in either English, Gaelic or Welsh, be produced first during the previous calendar year, have a playing time over one hour, and have been performed no fewer than seven times by a professional theatre company.
List of recipientsEdit
- ^ Scholarly revision of Buchan's earlier "The Marquis of Montrose" (1913)
- ^ Includes studies of antiquaries including Elias Ashmole, William Dugdale, Thomas Hearne, George Hickes, Thomas Madox, John Nalson, Edward Thwaites and Humfrey Wanley
Best of the James Tait Black (2012)Edit
In 2012, a special prize was given called the 'Best of the James Tait Black' (in addition to the normal prize for that year). The award celebrated the fiction winners over the past 93 years, as part of the 250th anniversary of the study of English Literature at the university. A shortlist of six previous winners competed for the title of Best. A judging panel of celebrity alumni and writers decided on the winner, which was announced on 6 December 2012 as Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus.
- Angela Carter, Nights at the Circus (1984)
- Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter (1948)
- James Kelman, A Disaffection (1989)
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road (2006)
- Caryl Phillips, Crossing the River (1993)
- Muriel Spark, The Mandelbaum Gate (1965)
- ^ a b Brian W. Shaffer (2008). A Companion to the British and Irish Novel 1945 – 2000. John Wiley & Sons. p. 164. ISBN 978-1-4051-5616-5. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- ^ "In memory of Janet Coats – 90th Anniversary of Scotland's oldest Literary Prize". wordpress.com. 19 August 2009.
- ^ a b c d e f Iona McLaren (24 August 2013). "Winners announced of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize 2013". The Telegraph. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- ^ Mary E. Gibson (August 1978). "Sir Ronald Ross and his contemporaries" (PDF). Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 71 (8): 611–612. doi:10.1177/014107687807100815. PMC 1436581. PMID 20894263. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- ^ "Video report of the James Tait Black Prize ceremony, August 2007". University of Edinburgh. 27 August 2007. Archived from the original on 23 December 2012.
- ^ "University boosts James Tait Black Prizes". University of Edinburgh. 28 November 2005. Archived from the original on 11 February 2007.
- ^ Pauli, Michelle (2 May 2006). "Ali Smith hits the shortlists again". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
- ^ "James Tait Black Memorial Prize Ceremony". The University of Edinburgh. 8 June 2007. Archived from the original on 26 October 2007.
- ^ "Book submissions".
- ^ "Drama submissions".
- ^ "Previous winners". James Tait Black Memorial Prize website. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- ^ a b John Ezard (8 June 2006). "A prize, at last, for McEwan novel". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- ^ a b "New winners for oldest book prize". BBC News. 22 August 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- ^ a b Alison Flood (21 August 2009). "Michael Holroyd wins James Tait Black prize 42 years after his wife". The Guardian.
- ^ a b "AS Byatt and John Carey win James Tait Black Memorial Prizes". The Telegraph. 20 August 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- ^ a b "Dazzling tale of Ms Saigon takes top award". The Scotsman. 20 August 2011.
- ^ a b Jen Bowden (25 August 2012). "Fiona MacCarthy and Padgett Powell win James Tait Black prizes". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- ^ a b "Authors join book prize's hall of fame". University of Edinburgh. 4 April 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
- ^ "2014 drama awards". University of Edinburgh. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
- ^ a b Alison Flood (17 August 2015). "James Tait Black prize goes to Zia Haider Rahman's debut novel". The Guardian.
- ^ "Play by bestselling author wins drama prize". University of Edinburgh. 28 March 2016. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
- ^ a b "James Tait Black Prize winners announced". BBC. 15 August 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
- ^ Drama prize, University of Edinburgh
- ^ a b "Eimear McBride wins James Tait Black prize for The Lesser Bohemians". Guardian. 15 August 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
- ^ Drama prize, University of Edinburgh
- ^ a b "Literary duo join oldest book prizes' hall of fame". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
- ^ Lions and Tigers wins the James Tait Black Prize for Drama 2018, theedinburghreporter.co.uk, 20 August 2018.
- ^ a b "Tales of love and war win centenary book awards". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
- ^ "Dance troupe drama wins leading literary award". The University of Edinburgh. 19 August 2019. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
- ^ a b Cain, Sian (21 August 2020). "Lucy Ellmann lands James Tait Black prize, 38 years after her father's win". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
- ^ "Vibrant carnival production wins drama prize". The University of Edinburgh. 1 October 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
- ^ a b "Electrifying tales claim UK's oldest book awards". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 29 August 2021.
- ^ a b "Pitch perfect tales win James Tait Black Prizes". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- ^ a b Russell Leadbetter (21 October 2012). "Book prize names six of the best in search for winner". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- ^ a b "Authors in running for 'best of best' James Tait Black award". BBC News. 21 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- ^ a b Alison Flood (6 December 2012). "Angela Carter named best ever winner of James Tait Black award". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
- James Tait Black Prizes homepage, University of Edinburgh
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize winners at Faded Page
- Windows Media Video report of the 2007 James Tait Black Prize ceremony
- New Statesman article on the James Tait Black and Booker prizes
- James Tait Black feature on the BBC Radio 4's 'Open Book' (includes audio link)