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Press Release: Prizes and Awards
Men Dominate The Shortlist For The John Llewellyn Rhys Prize

Posted at 9:57AM Monday 03 Nov 2008

The shortlist is announced today for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, which celebrates the best work of literature (fiction, non-fiction, poetry or drama) by a UK or Commonwealth writer aged 35 or under.

The prize is administered by the charity Booktrust which also administers the women-only Orange Prize for Fiction. Man Booker Prize-winner Aravind Adiga is included in the shortlist which comprises three works of non-fiction, two novels and a narrative poem:

The shortlist is:

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Atlantic Books)

The Broken Word by Adam Foulds (Jonathan Cape)

The Secret Life of Words by Henry Hitchings (John Murray)

The Bloody White Baron by James Palmer (Faber and Faber)

God's Own Country by Ross Raisin (Viking)

Selling Your Father's Bones by Brian Schofield (HarperPress)

The winner will be announced at a ceremony at Century Club, London, on Monday 24 November. The winning author receives a cheque for £5,000 while the other shortlisted authors receive £500 each.

This year's judges are Henry Sutton, author and Books Editor of the Daily Mirror, Joolz Denby, author and poet, and Sarah Hall, author and last year's winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize.

Henry Sutton, Chair of Judges comments:

"With three exceptional works of non-fiction, two wildly original novels and a narrative poem of stunning power, the shortlist for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize 2008 could not be stronger, or more thematically or stylistically diverse. Yet all exhibit an assurance and vitality rare in contemporary literature. That four are debuts and all are by authors under the age of 35 is staggering. That all are by men is another matter – we simply picked the best books. And each of these works are, in many ways, landmarks. They stand up."

Viv Bird, Director of Booktrust:

"The John Llewellyn Rhys Prize is one of Booktrust's most important prizes; identifying, as it has done so successfully for the past 66 years, the very best young writers in the early stage of their careers. This year's shortlist incorporates fiction, non-fiction and poetry and is sure to appeal to a wide range of readers."

Author Biogs

Aravind Adiga was born in Madras in 1974 and was raised in Australia. He studied at Columbia and Oxford Universities. A former correspondent in India for Time magazine, his articles have also appeared in publications such as the Financial Times, the Independent, and the Sunday Times. He lives in Mumbai. The White Tiger is his first novel and won the Man Booker Prize in 2008.

Adam Foulds read English at St. Catherine's, Oxford, has a Creative Writing MA from UEA and received the Harper-Wood fellowship from St. John's College, Cambridge. His poetry, praised by Christopher Reid and Craig Raine, has appeared in magazines such as Arete, Stand and Quadrant. He is the author of The Truth About These Strange Times which won The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award.

Henry Hitchings was born in 1974. Educated at the universities of Oxford and London, he is the author of Dr Johnson's Dictionary and has contributed to many newspapers and magazines.

James Palmer was born in 1981, lives in Beijing and has travelled extensively in East and Central Asia. This is his first book. He brings to it a knowledge of comparative religion as well as a deep fascination with the cultures and history of China and Mongolia.

Ross Raisin was born in 1979 in West Yorkshire. He lives in London. God's Own Country is his first novel. It won the Guildford Book Festival First Novel Award and a Betty Trask Award, and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, the Dylan Thomas Prize, and the Portico Prize.


Brian Schofield won the best British Travel Writer 2003 covering North America. He has spent the last eight years writing for GQ, FHM, Arena and The Sunday Times. He's currently works as assistant travel editor, culture and news review writer at The Sunday Times.

***Interviews are available with all authors and judges***

***Longer synopses and biographies of authors available on request. ***

For further information log on to:

Prize information: Tarryn McKay 020 8516 2972

Press enquiries: Katherine Solomon 020 8875 4583

Notes to Editors

About the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize

The prize was founded 65 years ago in honour of the writer John Llewellyn Rhys, who was killed in action in World War II. His young wife, also a writer, began the award to honour and celebrate his life. Past winners of the award include VS Naipaul, Dan Jacobson, Elizabeth Jane Howard, Angela Carter, Margaret Drabble, David Hare, AL Kennedy, Andrew Motion, William Boyd, AN Wilson and Charlotte Mendelson.

Last year's winner was Sarah Hall for her novel The Carhullan Army.

About Booktrust

Booktrust is an independent national charity that encourages people of all ages and cultures to discover and enjoy reading. Booktrust is responsible for a number of successful national reading promotions, sponsored book prizes and creative reading projects aimed at encouraging readers to discover and enjoy books. These include the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction, the Children's Laureate, the Get London Reading campaign, the Booktrust Teenage Prize and Bookstart, the national programme that works through locally based organisations to give a free pack of books to young children, with guidance materials for parents and carers. Booktrust has developed two further free book programmes in the UK: Booktime, run in association with Pearson, gives a free book to every Year One pupil, and Booked Up, which gives a free book, from a choice of twelve, to every Year Seven pupil.

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