THE NOTTING HILL EDITIONS ESSAY PRIZE 2015
Notting Hill Editions is an independent Publisher devoted to the best in non-fiction essay writing. NHE runs a biennial Essay Prize for the best essay in the English language, of between 2,000 and 8,000 words, published or unpublished, on any subject.
The 2015 Essay Prize will be launched on February 25th at Jewish Book Week, with the previous winner Michael Ignatieff in conversation with Phillip Lopate, passionate advocate of the essay, and one of the judges of the 2015 prize.
The 2015 panel of judges includes:
Adam Mars-Jones (Chair) - Novelist, essayist and critic. He has written non-fiction (Blind Bitter Happiness, 1997) and fiction including Lantern Lecture (1981), The Waters of Thirst (1993), Pilcrow (2008) and Cedilla (2011). He is author of the celebrated essay Noriko Smiling published by Notting Hill Editions in 2011.
Michael Ignatieff – Winner of the 2013 prize, former leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and the author of fifteen works of fiction and non-fiction. He teaches human rights and politics at the Kennedy School of Government and Harvard University.
Phillip Lopate – Esteemed essayist, novelist and poet. NHE publishes his latest personal collection of essays Portrait Inside My Head in February 2015. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including Bachelorhood, Against Joie de Vivre and Portrait of My Body; and To Show and to Tell: the Craft of Literary Nonfiction. He directs the graduate nonfiction program at Columbia University.
Eileen Battersby – Journalist and literary correspondent for The Irish Times. She has written about all aspects of the arts, particularly classical music and literature. Four times winner of the Arts Journalist of the Year award, she has most recently won the Critic of the Year and has published two books; Second Readings and Ordinary Dogs.
Professor Raymond Tallis – Philosopher, poet, novelist and cultural critic who was, until recently, a physician and clinical scientist. In the Economist's Intelligent Life Magazine (Autumn 2009) he was listed as one of the top living polymaths in the world.
The awards will be presented on 30th September 2015 along with the publication of the prize winning entries in the treasured Notting Hill Editions hardback format.
The 2015 prize money is £20,000 to the winner and £1000 each to five runners up.
Entry fee is £20.00 to include a copy of the 2013 Winners book (in hard back for UK residents and e-book for non-UK residents).
The inaugural 2013 award was named in honour of William Hazlitt (1778-1830), great master of the miscellaneous essay.
Commenting on the winning essay, Judge Adam Mars-Jones added, ‘The best of the literary-critical essays, it opened up the subject and scrutinised it with some fierceness, widening the context without ever losing sight of its original remit. The suggestion about moral extremes and the aesthetic sense seemed to me powerful and unfamiliar, the borrowing of Kafka's "hunger artist" rewarding’.
Michael Ignatieff described the essay as ‘that wonderful form invented by Montaigne that endures today even in a 140 character Twitter universe because as William Hazlitt said so well, it “ shows us what we are, and what we are not.”’ Ignatieff also commented, ‘Raphael Lemkin, the subject of my essay, was the Polish refugee who in 1943 coined the term genocide to describe the crime that wiped out his entire family. He died unknown and forgotten on a New York street in 1959, yet if we have a Genocide Convention it is because of him. Here’s to refugees, may they always have a home with us.’
The essays were judged on the originality of the ideas, the quality of the prose and the ability to communicate to a wide audience. Selected from a shortlist of 13 essays, the five runners up were Scottish Man Booker Prize shortlisted author, Andrew O’Hagan, American poet and critic J.T. Barbarese, award winning short story author and novelist Belle Boggs, American debut novelist Leslie Jamison and Daily Telegraph assistant books editor Sameer Rahim. The essays examine a wide range of subjects; Operation Yewtree, political apathy in the US, female infertility, the ability to empathise and the birth of Islam.
The winning essay was awarded £15,000 and the five runners-up each received £1000.
All six essays are published by Notting Hill Editions in an exquisite, clothbound hardback edition, available here http://www.nottinghilleditions.com/books/william-hazlitt-essay-prize-2013-the-winners/208