The University of Warwick Prize for Writing

The Warwick Prize for Writing at the Literature Festival

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The £25,000 Warwick Prize for Writing is awarded to one substantial piece of English language writing, chosen from work across the globe.

Warwick is a university that champions writers of insight, imagination and potential. In addition to the Prize, they also inspire talent through an acclaimed writing programme and English department.

Dr Sarah Moss is an associate professor at Warwick and the Co-Director of this year’s prize. Here she introduces the competition to the 2015 Literature Festival.

The Warwick Prize for Writing at Cheltenham

On the first Friday of The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival we will announce the shortlist for The Warwick Prize for Writing 2015. The prize, which is worth £25,000, was established by The University of Warwick with one aim: to find the very best in writing – with no preconceptions as to the form, subject matter or style this might take.

The Prize realises the University of Warwick’s commitment to the nurture and support of literary work of all forms at a time when the literary marketplace is fast-changing and unstable. Judges coming from different professions look for excellent writing that opens new worlds to readers, whether through fiction or non-fiction, poetry or prose, traditional or innovative forms of the written world.

Every two years a theme is chosen to reflect the cultural concerns of the moment – this theme is a prism through which to view worlds conceived or perceived by the world’s most exciting writers. This year we are intrigued by the idea of ‘instinct’, by unspoken and deep-lying motivations for good deeds and evil acts. From the latest research in the social sciences to the motivations of a character in a novel, instinct and the actions it foments are central to our understanding of what it means to be human.

‘Before you become a writer you must first become a reader’ notes Robert Macfarlane in the introduction to his wonderful book Landmarks; I couldn’t agree more. The judges for this year’s prize are all writers, each bringing a unique perspective and insight into the written word from their own lifetime’s reading and writing. Joining the academic Robert Macfarlane are the actor Fiona Shaw, traveller Tony Wheeler, physician Gavin Francis and our Chair, novelist Alison Kennedy.

Robert , Gavin and Fiona are all appearing at this year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival and, in their events, will discuss the theme of instinct, and their own perspective on how this is reflected in this year’s shortlist.

And we’d love to hear your thoughts too – tell us which pieces of writing you love that encapsulates ‘instinct’ for you – it could be a book, a play or even a blog post. We’re @WarwickPrize #cheltlitfest on Twitter or search for us on Facebook. We look forward to hearing your suggestions.

Dr Sarah Moss
Co-director, The Warwick Prize for Writing

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