Monday, January 17, 2022

James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction -- LIST



The James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction is one of the oldest and most prestigious book prizes. It has been awarded since 1919 for literature written in the English language. The award is based at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. The winner is chosen by two academic scholars in the English Department, with the assistance of PhD students.

I am not going to keep updating the winners after 2020. My enthusiasm for prize-winners is waning with the 2020s. I plan to focus my efforts on reading the winners up to 2020 then declare victory and move on to other bookish projects.

So far, I have read only 19 of the winners. The prize may offer literary prestige and £10,000, but it doesn't guarantee popular success or that your book will stay in print! Some of these are hard to find. Here is the list, with notes about whether I've finished a book, if it is on my TBR shelf, or if it available as an audiobook from my library:

2020 Lote by Shola von Reinhold

2019 Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann ON OVERDRIVE

2018 Crudo by Olivia Lang

2017 Attrib. and Other Stories by Eley Williams

2016 The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride FINISHED

2015 You Don’t Have to Live Like This by Benjamin Markovits 

2014 In the Light of What We Know by Zia Haider Rahman ON OVERDRIVE

2013 Harvest by Jim Crace ON OVERDRIVE

2012 The Deadman's Pedal by Alan Warner
2010 The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli ON OVERDRIVE

2009 The Children's Book by A. S. Byatt ON OVERDRIVE

2008 The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (reviewed hereFINISHED

2007 Our Horses in Egypt by Rosalind Belben

2006 The Road by Cormac McCarthy

2005 Saturday by Ian McEwan FINISHED

2004 GB84 by David Peace

2003 Personality by Andrew O'Hagan

2002 The Corrections by Jonathon Franzen FINISHED

2001 Something Like a House by Sid Smith

2000 White Teeth by Zadie Smith FINISHED

1999 Renegade or Halo2 by Timothy Mo

1998 Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge TBR SHELF

1997 Ingenious Pain by Andrew Miller TBR SHELF

1996 Last Orders by Graham Swift (FINISHED) and Justine by Alice Thompson

1995 The Prestige by Christopher Priest (reviewed hereFINISHED

1994 The Folding Star by Alan Hollinghurst TBR SHELF

1993 Crossing the River by Caryl Phillips

1992 Sacred Country by Rose Tremain

1991 Downriver by Iain Sinclair

1990 Brazzeville Beach by William Boyd (reviewed hereFINISHED

1989 A Disaffection by James Kelman

1988 A Season in the West by Piers Paul Read

1987 The Golden Bird: Two Orkney Stories by George Mackay Brown

1986 Persephone by Jenny Joseph

1985 Winter Garden by Robert Edric

1984 Empire of the Sun by J. G. Ballard and Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter TBR SHELF BOTH

1983 Allegro Postillions by Jonathan Keates

1982 On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin TBR SHELF

1981 Midnight's Children (reviewed here) and The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux FINISHED BOTH

1980 Waiting for the Barbarians by J. M. Coetzee

1979 Darkness Visible by William Golding TBR SHELF

1978 Plumb by Maurice Gee

1977 The Honorable Schoolboy by John le Carre TBR SHELF

1976 Doctor Copernicus by John Banville TBR SHELF

1975 The Great Victorian Collection by Brian Moore

1974 Monsieur, or The Prince Of Darkness by Lawrence Durrell TBR SHELF

1973 The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch TBR SHELF

1972 G by John Berger (reviewed hereFINISHED

1971 A Guest of Honour by Nadine Gordimer

1970 The Bird of Paradise by Lily Powell

1969 Eva Trout by Elizabeth Bowen TBR SHELF

1968 The Gasteropod by Maggie Ross

1967 Jerusalem the Golden by Margaret Drabble TBR SHELF

1966 Such by Christine Brooke-Rose and Langrishe, Go Down by Aidan Higgins TBR SHELF

1965 The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark (reviewed hereFINISHED

1964 The Ice Saints by Frank Tuohy TBR SHELF

1963 A Slanting Light by Gerda Charles

1962 Act of Destruction by Ronald Hardy

1961 The Ha-Ha by Jennifer Dawson TBR SHELF

1960 Imperial Caesar by Rex Warner

1959 The Devil's Advocate by Morris West TBR SHELF

1958 The Middle Age of Mrs Eliot by Angus Wilson

1957 At Lady Molly's by Anthony Powell FINISHED

1956 The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macauley FINISHED

1955 Mother and Son by Ivy Compton-Burnett

1954 The New Men TBR SHELF and The Masters FINISHED by C. P. Snow 

1953 Troy Chimneys by Margaret Kennedy

1952 Men at Arms by Evelyn Waugh TBR SHELF

1951 Father Goose by W. C. Chapman-Mortimer

1950 Along the Valley by Robert Henriquez

1949 The Far Cry by Emma Smith

1948 The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene FINISHED

1947 Eustace and Hilda by L. P. Hartley TBR SHELF

1946 Poor Man's Tapestry by G. Oliver Onions

1945 Travellers by L. A. G. Strong

1944 Young Tom by Forrest Reid

1943 Tales From Bective Bridge by Mary Lavin

1942 Monkey by Wu Ch'eng-en (translation by Arthur Whaley)

1941 A House of Children by Joyce Cary

1940 The Voyage by Charles Morgan

1939 After Many a Summer Dies the Swan by Aldous Huxley FINISHED

1938 A Ship of the Line and Flying Colours by C. S. Forester

1937 Highland River by Neil M. Gunn

1936 South Riding by Winifred Holtby

1935 The Root and the Flower by L. H. Myers

1934 I, Claudius (FINISHED) and Claudius the God by Robert Graves ON OVERDRIVE

1933 England, Their England by A. G. Macdonell TBR SHELF

1932 Boomerang by Helen Simpson

1931 Without My Cloak by Kate O'Brien TBR SHELF

1930 Miss Mole by E. H. Young

1929 The Good Companions by J. B. Priestley

1928 Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man by Siegfried Sassoon TBR SHELF

1927 Portrait of Clare by Francis Brett Young

1926 Adam's Breed by Radclyffe Hall

1925 The Informer by Liam O'Flaherty

1924 A Passage to India by E. M. Forster FINISHED

1923 Riceyman Steps by Arnold Bennett

1922 Lady Into Fox by David Garnett FINISHED

1921 Memoirs of a Midget by Walter de la Mare

1920 The Lost Girl by D. H. Lawrence

1919 The Secret City by Hugh Walpole TBR SHELF


This list is so long, and there are so many books on it that look good to me, that I plan to confine myself to completing the 20th Century winners only. I'll cut myself some slack and not try to keep up with the list into the 21st Century. I think I will adopt the same plan for several of the lists I'm working on. My heart is with mid-20th Century fiction so I'll stick with that. I get enough contemporary fiction as it is without keeping up with all the prize winners. 

Updated as of March 20, 2024. This is a redo of the list I originally posted in 2009. 

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