The Borders Book Festival has this year awarded its annual Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction to John Spurling for his novel The Ten Thousand Things, which tells the story of 14th century Chinese painter Wang Meng. Spurling took the £25,000 prize over work from Martin Amis (The Zone of Interest), Helen Dunmore (The Lie), Hermione Eyre (Viper Eye), Adam Foulds (In the Wolf’s Mouth), Damon Galgut (Arctic Summer) and Kamila Shamsie (A God in Every Stone). Those other nominees each receive £1,000.
Illustrator Chris Riddell has been named as the new Children’s Laureate, taking over from author Malorie Blackman, who has held the post since 2013. Awarded every two years and managed by Book Trust, the post celebrates outstanding achievement in the field of children’s books, and bestows upon the recipient a bursary of £15,000 and a silver medal. Riddell is the first illustrator to hold the post since Anthony Browne, who was Children’s Laureate from 2009 to 2011.
The shortlists have been unveiled for this year’s Forward Poetry Prizes, commonly thought of as the Booker Prize of the poetry world. Prizes are awarded for best collection (£10,000), best first collection (£5,000) and best single poem (£1,000), with all nominees published in the UK and Ireland between October 2014 and September 2015.
The Orwell Prize, given annually to the best in British political writing, has this year awarded its prize for books to novelist James Meek, for his non-fictional examination of the privatisation of UK public services, Private Island. The book is a collection of essays largely drawn from the pages of the London Review of Books, to which Meek is a contributing editor. Though Meek has previously worked as a journalist, and remained on staff at The Guardian until 2005 having been the newspaper’s Moscow bureau chief throughout the 1990s, he is best known as a novelist, finding his widest success with the Booker-longlisted The People’s Act of Love that same year.
The biennial Man Booker International Prize, awarded to living authors of any nationality for a body of work readily available (either in its native tongue or in translation) in English, has this year been presented to Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai. It is the first time the award has been given to an author whose work was not originally published in English since the inaugural prize in 2005, when it was presented to the Albanian Ismail Kadare. It is also the first time a non-North American author has won the award since its sophomore prize in 2007 went to Chinua Achebe.
The Folio Prize is in search of a new financial benefactor and, consequently, a new name, following the decision of the Folio Society not to renew its title sponsorship of the award. The literary award, which was presented in its first two years of existence under the Folio Society’s name, hopes to continue, and is currently in search of a new sponsor that will allow it to present its 2016 winner with a £40,000 prize.
The Crime Writers’ Association has unveiled the longlist for this year’s Dagger in the Library prize, recognising an author not for a single book but for their complete body of work. Nominations came from votes cast by readers online, this year through the award’s sponsor, Penguin Random House crime imprint/community Dead Good.
The Richard & Judy Book Club is set to continue into its fifteenth year, with its namesakes having signed a contract that will keep it going through 2019.
The Royal Society of Literature has revealed the shortlist for this year’s Ondaatje Prize, awarded to writers of fiction, non-fiction or poetry resident in the Commonwealth or Republic of Ireland, whose work evokes ‘the spirit of a place’.
Wednesday night saw the launch of BookMachine’s Shapshots II, the second compilation of some of the best blogs from the BookMachine archive. This time round, the collection focuses on consumer relationships, marketing and new publishing models.