This collection brings together the six international winners of the £20,000 Notting Hill Editions Essay Prize 2017.
Contributors: William Max Nelson (winner), Karen Holmberg, Garret Keizer, Patrick McGuinness, Dasha Shkurpela, Laura Esther Wolfson.
Covering an array of subjects, from the meaning of art to supermarket shopping, these pieces were chosen for their originality, literary style, and above all, their ability to persuade.
The six finalists were chosen anonymously by the 2017 judging panel including:
ROSALIND PORTER (CHAIR) – Deputy Editor, Granta
TRAVIS ELBOROUGH – freelance writer, broadcaster and cultural commentator
KIRSTY GUNN – prize-winning author and Professor of Writing Practice and Study at the University of Dundee
DANIEL MENDELSOHN – internationally bestselling author, critic, and essayist
SAMEER RAHIM – former runner-up for the Notting Hill Editions Essay Prize, editor, critic and literary journalist
The judges awarded the first prize to ‘Five Ways of Being a Painting’ by William Max Nelson for ‘its curious mix of the philosophical and the personal, the argumentative and the ruminative that makes it a real essay’.
Judges described what they were looking for in the winning essays thus:
‘I believe that writers are not always thinkers and thinkers are not always writers, but the strong essayist must be both.’
Rosalind Porter, Chair of Judges
“A good essay takes us right inside the mind of its writer and lets us roam about with his or her thoughts as they rise up on the page. It’s a journey as governed by contingencies and mystery and uncertainty and wonder as life itself, rich and surprising and charged by the power of the imagination and intellect.”