Founded in 1919, the James Tait Black Memorial Prizes are among the oldest and most prestigious book prizes awarded for literature written in the English Language. One is awarded for fiction and the second for biography.

Major literary figures to receive the award include D. H. Lawrence, Arnold Bennett, John Buchan, Robert Graves, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, Anthony Powell, Muriel Spark, J.G. Ballard, Angela Carter, Margaret Drabble and Salman Rushdie.

2010 Winners & ShortlistsJames Tait Black Memorial Prizes

Fiction Winner - The Children's Book, by A.S. Byatt, U.K.
Biography Winner - William Golding: The Man Who Wrote Lord of the Flies, by John Carey, U.K.

2009 Fiction Winner & Shortlisted

Winner: The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry - Nearing her one-hundredth birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mentalhospital where she's spent the best part of her adult life prepares for closure. Over the weeks leading up to this upheaval...

Sputnik Caledonia by Andrew Crumey - Robbie Coyle is an imaginative kid. He wants so badly to become Scotland's first cosmonaut that he tries to teach himself Russian and trains for space exploration in the cupboard under the sink. But the place to which his ISBN: 9780099502548 - A Mercyfantasies later take him... More

A Mercy by Toni Morrison - accept a slave in lieu of payment of a debt from aplantation owner, little Florens' life changes. With her intelligence and passion for wearing the cast-off shoes of her... More

ISBN: 9780571215294 - The Secret ScriptureThe Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry - Nearing her one-hundredth birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mental hospital where she's spent the best part of her adult life prepares for closure. Over the weeks leading up to this upheaval... More

ISBN: 9780099516743 - A Case of Exploding Mangoes

A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif - Why did a Hercules C130, theworld's sturdiest plane, carrying Pakistan's military dictator General Zia ul Haq, go down on 17 August, 1988? Was it because of: mechanical failure, human error, the CIA's impatience, a blind woman's curse or Generals... More

ISBN: 9780571217045 - PilcrowPilcrow by Adam Mars-Jones - Growing up disabled and gay in the 1950's, circumstances force John Cromer from an early age to develop an intense and vivid internal world. As his character develops, this ability to transcend external circumstance through his own strength of... More

2009 Biography Winner & ShortlistISBN: 9780099497189 - A Strange Eventful History

Winner A Strange Eventful History: The Dramatic Lives of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and their Remarkable Families by Michael Holroyd- Henry Irving - a merchant's clerk who became the savior of British theater - and Ellen Terry, who made her first theater appearance as soon as she could walk, were the king and queen of the Victorian stage. This book explores their public and... More

ISBN: 9780297854418 - Arthur MillerArthur Miller by Christopher Bigsby - Arthur Miller was a prominent figure in American literature and cinema for over sixty years, writing a wide variety of plays - including The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, All My Sons, and Death of a Salesman - which are still performed, studied and lauded throughout the world. More

ISBN: 9780713996524 - ChagallChagall: Love and Exile by Jackie Wullschlager- 'When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is'. Picasso said this in the 1950s, when he and Chagall were eminent neighbours living in splendour on the Cote d'Azur. But behind Chagall's role as a pioneer of modern art lay struggle, heartbreak, bitterness, lost love, exile, and the miracle of survival. Born the son of a Russian Jewish herring merchant, Chagall fled the repressive 'potato-coloured' czarist empire in 1911 to develop his genius in Paris, living alongside Modigliani and Leger in La Ruche, the artist's colony where 'you either died or came out famous'. Through war and revolution in Bolshevik Russia, Weimar Berlin, occupied France and 1940s New York, he gave form to his dreams, longings and memories in paintings which are among the most humane and joyful of the 20th century. More

ISBN: 9780747594765 - Gabriel Garcia MarquezGabriel García Márquez: A Life by Gerald Martin - Describes the tension in the author's life between celebrity and literary quality, between politics and writing; and between power, solitude and love; and the contrast between his Caribbean background and the gloomier authoritarianism of highland... More

ISBN: 9781844672950 - Edward CarpenterEdward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love by Sheila Rowbotham - Challenging both capitalism and the values of Western civilization, the gay socialist writer Edward Carpenter had an extraordinary impact on the cultural and political landscape of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A mystic... More

2008 Winners
Two writers have joined the ranks of literary giants such as DH Lawrence, EM Forster and Graham Greene by winning the James Tait Black Memorial Prizes.

Rosalind Belben won the fiction prize for her acclaimed novel, Our Horses in Egyptour_house_in_egypt.

Rosemary Hill is the recipient of the biographyprize for her first book, God's Architect: Pugin and the Building of Romantic Britain.

Shortlists for 2008

An award-winning poet, a best-selling American author and a Man Booker Prize contender are on the shortlist for Britain's oldest literary award.

The James Tait Black Memorial Prizes are awarded annually by the University of Edinburgh for the best work of fiction and the best biography published during the previous year.

Acclaimed writers John Burnside, Daniel Mason and Mohsin Hamid are on the 2008 shortlist for the £10,000 awards, along with Rosalind Belben and newcomer Gee Williams. The five novels competing for the £10,000 fiction prize are Our Horses in Egypt by Rosalind Belben (Vintage), The Devil's Footprints by John Burnside (right)(Vintage), The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (Penguin), A Far Country by Daniel Mason (Picador) and Salvageby Gee Williams (Alcemi).

Contenders for the biography prize include accounts on philosopher and political economist John Stuart Mill and architect Augustus Pugin who designed the Houses of Parliament. The shortlisted works for the biography section, also with a £10,000 prize are Hand Me My Travelin' Shoes - In Search of Blind Willie McTell by Michael Gray (Bloomsbury), God's Architect: Pugin and the Building of Romantic Britain by Rosemary Hill (Allen Lane), Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee (Vintage), Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore (Phoenix) and John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand by Richard Reeves (Atlantic).

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Cormac McCarthy
The Road (Picador)
Byron Rogers
The Man Who Went into the West: The Life of R. S. Thomas (Aurum Press)
Ian McEwan
Saturday (Jonathan Cape)
Sue Prideaux
Edvard Munch: Behind the Scream (Yale University Press)
David Peace
GB84 (Faber)
Jonathan Bate
John Clare (Picador)
Andrew O'Hagan
Personality (Faber)
Janet Browne
Charles Darwin: The Power of Place: Power of Place v. 2 (Jonathan Cape)
Jonathan Franzen
The Corrections (Fourth Estate)
Jenny Uglow
Lunar Men: The Friends Who Made the Future (Faber)
Sid Smith
Something Like a House (Picador)
Robert Skidelsky
John Maynard Keynes: Fighting for Britain, 1937-1946 Vol 3 (Macmillan)
Zadie Smith
White Teeth (Penguin UK)
Martin Amis
Experience (Jonathan Cape)
Timothy Mo
Renegade or Halo2 (Paddleless Press)
Kathryn Hughes
George Eliot: The Last Victorian (Fourth Estate)
Beryl Bainbridge
Master Georgie (Duckworth)
Peter Ackroyd
The Life of Thomas More (Chatto & Windus)
Andrew Miller
Ingenious Pain (Sceptre imprint, Oxford University Press)
R.F. Foster
W.B. Yeats: A Life Volume1 - The Apprentice Mage 1965-1914 [Hodder & Stoughton])
Joint Award

Graham Swift Last Orders (Picador Macmillan)
Alice Thompson Justine (Canongate)
Diarmaid MacCulloch
Thomas Cranmer: A Life (Yale)
Christopher Priest
The Prestige (Touchstone)
Gitta Sereny
Albert Speer: His Battle with the Truth (Macmillan)
Alan Hollinghurst
The Folding Star (Chatto & Windus)
Doris Lessing
Under My Skin (Harper Collins)
Caryl Phillips
Crossing The River (Bloomsbury)
Richard Holmes
Dr Johnson And Mr Savage (Hodder & Stoughton)
Rose Tremain
Sacred Country (Sinclair Stevenson)
Charles Nicoll
The Reckoning: The Murder Of Christopher Marlowe (Jonathan Cape)
Iain Sinclair
Downriver (Michael Joseph)
Adrian Desmond and James Moore
Darwin (Paladin)
William Boyd
Brazzaville Beach (Sinclair Stevenson)
Claire Tomalin
The Invisible Woman: The Story Of Nelly Ternan And Charles Dickens (Viking)
James Kelman
A Disaffection (Secker & Warburg)
Ian Gibson
Federico Garcia Lorca: A Life (Faber & Faber)
Piers Paul Read
A Season In The West (Secker & Warburg)
Brian McGuinness

Wittgenstein, A Life: Young Ludwig (1889-1921) (Duckworth)

George Mackay Brown
The Golden Bird: Two Orkney Stories (John Murray)
Ruth Dudley Edwards,
Victor Gollancz: A Biography (Victor Gollancz)
Jenny Joseph
Persephone (Bloodaxe Books)
D. Felicitas Corrigan
Helen Waddell (Victor Gollancz)
Robert Edric
Winter Garden (André Deutsch)
David Nokes
Jonathan Swift: A Hypocrite Reversed (OUP)
Joint Award:

J. G. Ballard Empire Of The Sun (Gollancz)
Angela Carter Nights At The Circus (Chatto & Windus)
Lyndall Gordon
Virginia Woolf: A Writer's Life (OUP)
Jonathan Keates
Allegro Postillions (Salamander Press)
Alan Walker
Franz Liszt: The Virtuoso Years (Faber)
Bruce Chatwin
On The Black Hill (Cape)
Richard Ellmann
James Joyce (OUP)
Joint Award:

Salman Rushdie Midnight's Children (Cape)
Paul Theroux The Mosquito Coast (Hamish Hamilton)
Victoria Glendinning
Edith Sitwell: Unicorn Among Lions (Weidenfeld)
J. M. Coetzee
Waiting For The Barbarians (Secker & Warburg)
Robert B. Martin
Tennyson: The Unquiet Heart (OUP)
William Golding
Darkness Visible (Faber)
Brian Finney
Christopher Isherwood: A Critical Biography (Faber)
Maurice Gee
Plumb (Faber)
Robert Gittings
The Older Hardy (Heinemann Educational)
John Le Carré
The Honourable Schoolboy (Hodder & Stoughton)
George Painter
Chateaubriand, Vol.1: The Longed-For Tempests (Chatto & Windus)
John Banville
Doctor Copernicus (Secker & Warburg)
Ronald Hingley
A New Life Of Chekhov (OUP)
Brian Moore
The Great Victorian Collection (Cape)
Karl Miller
Cockburn's Millennium (Duckworth)
Lawrence Durrell
Monsieur, Or The Prince Of Darkness
John Wain
Samuel Johnson
Iris Murdoch
The Black Prince
Robin Lane Fox
Alexander The Great
John Berger
Quentin Bell
Virginia Woolf
Nadine Gordimer
A Guest Of Honour
Julia Namier
Lewis Namier
Lily Powell
The Bird Of Paradise
Jasper Ridley
Lord Palmerston
Elizabeth Bowen
Eva Trout
Antonia Fraser
Mary, Queen Of Scots
Maggie Ross
The Gasteropod
Gordon S. Haight
George Eliot
Margaret Drabble
Jerusalem The Golden
Winifred Gérin
Charlotte Brontë, The Evolution Of Genius
Joint Award:

Christine Brooke-Rose Langrishe
Aidan Higgins Go Down
Geoffrey Keynes
The Life Of William Harvey Such
Muriel Spark
The Mandelbaum Gate
Mary Moorman
William Wordsworth, The Later Years 1803-1850
Frank Tuohy
The Ice Saints
Elizabeth Longford
Victoria R.I.
Gerda Charles
A Slanting Light
Georgina Battiscome
John Keble: A Study In Limitations
Ronald Hardy
Act Of Destruction
Meriol Trevor
Newman: The Pillar And The Cloud and Newman: Light In Winter
Jennifer Dawson
The Ha-Ha
M. K. Ashby
Joseph Ashby Of Tysoe
Rex Warner
Imperial Caesar
Canon Adam Fox
The Life Of Dean Inge
Morris West
The Devil's Advocate
Christopher Hassall
Edward Marsh
Angus Wilson
The Middle Age Of Mrs Eliot
Joyce Hemlow
The History Of Fanny Burney
Anthony Powell
At Lady Molly's
Maurice Cranston
Life Of John Locke
Rose Macauley
The Towers Of Trebizond
St John Greer Ervine
George Bernard Shaw
Ivy Compton-Burnett
Mother And Son
R. W. Ketton-Cremer
Thomas Gray
C. P. Snow
The New Men and The Masters in sequence
Keith Feiling
Warren Hastings
Margaret Kennedy
Troy Chimneys
Carola Oman
Sir John Moore
Evelyn Waugh
Men At Arms
G. M. Young
Stanley Baldwin
W. C. Chapman-Mortimer
Father Goose
Noel G. Annan
Leslie Stephen
Robert Henriquez
Along The Valley
Mrs Cecil Woodham-Smith
Florence Nightingale
Emma Smith
The Far Cry
John Connell
W. E. Henley
Graham Greene
The Heart Of The Matter
Percy A. Scholes
The Great Dr Burney
L. P. Hartley
Eustace And Hilda
Rev. C. C. E. Raven
English Naturalists From Neckham To Ray
G. Oliver Onions
Poor Man's Tapestry
R. Aldington
L. A. G. Strong
D. S. MacColl
Philip Wilson Steer
Forrest Reid
Young Tom
C. V. Wedgwood
William The Silent
Mary Lavin
Tales From Bectine Bridge
G. G. Coulton
Fourscore Years
Arthur Whaley
Monkey By Wu Ch'eng-en
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede
Henry Ponsonby: Queen Victoria's Private Secretary
Joyce Cary
A House Of Children
John Gore
King George V
Charles Morgan
The Voyage
Hilda F. M. Prescott
Spanish Tudor
Aldous Huxley
After Many A Summer Dies The Swan
David C. Douglas
English Scholars
C. S. Forester
A Ship Of The Line and Flying Colours
Sir Edmund Chambers
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Neil M. Gunn
Highland River
Lord Eustace Percy
John Knox
Winifred Holtby
South Riding
Edward Sackville West
A Flame In Sunlight: The Life And Work Of Thomas de Quincey
L. H. Myers
The Root And The Flower
R. W. Chambers
Thomas More
Robert Graves
I, Claudius and Claudius The God
J. E. Neale
Queen Elizabeth
A. G. Macdonell
England, Their England
Violet Clifton
The Book Of Talbot
Helen Simpson
Stephen Gwynn
The Life Of Mary Kingsley
Kate O'Brien
Without My Cloak
J. Y. R. Greig
David Hume
E. H. Young
Miss Mole
Francis Yeats Brown
Lives Of A Bengal Lancer
J. B. Priestley
The Good Companions
Lord David Cecil
The Stricken Deer: Or The Life Of Cowper
Siegfried Sassoon
Memoirs Of A Fox-Hunting Man
John Buchan
Francis Brett Young
Portrait Of Clare
H. A. L. Fisher
James Bryce, Viscount Bryce Of Dechmont, O.M.
Radclyffe Hall
Adam's Breed
Rev. Dr H. B. Workman
John Wyclif: A Study Of The English Medieval Church
Liam O'Flaherty
The Informer
Geoffrey Scott
The Portrait Of Zelide
E. M. Forster
A Passage To India
Rev. William Wilson
The House Of Airlie
Arnold Bennett
Riceyman Steps
Sir Ronald Ross
Memoirs, Etc
David Garnett
Lady Into Fox
Percy Lubbock
Walter de la Mare
Memoirs Of A Midget
Lytton Strachey
Queen Victoria
D. H. Lawrence
The Lost Girl
G. M. Trevelyan
Lord Grey Of The Reform Bill
Hugh Walpole
The Secret City
H. Festing Jones
Samuel Butler, Author Of Erewhon (1835-1902) - A Memoir