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18 September 2021

James Tait Black Prize winners 2021

25 August 2021

Debut prose writers Doireann Ní Ghríofa and Shola von Reinhold join the stellar list of authors whose dazzling books have won the James Tait Black Prizes, awarded annually by the University of Edinburgh. 

James Tait Black Prize winners 2021

Doireann Ní Ghríofa's winning book in the biography prize, A Ghost in the Throat combines memoir with a mesmerizing exploration of the life of 18th-century poet, Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill. Award-winning poet and essayist Doireann Ní Ghríofa has published several acclaimed works of poetry in both Irish and English, including Clasp, Oighear, and Lies. The winning biography, A Ghost in the Throat, published by Tramp Press, is the writer's prose debut.

Shola von Reinhold's winning book in the fiction prize, Lote, follows the narrator Mathilda's fixation with the forgotten Black Scottish modernist poet, Hermia Druitt - a bohemian socialite of the 1920s. Shola von Reinhold is a writer based in Glasgow. Lote, their first novel, was published last year by Jacaranda as part of the publisher's Twenty in 2020 scheme - a pioneering initiative to launch 20 titles by 20 Black British writers in one year.

The winners of the £10,000 prizes were announced by author and broadcaster Sally Magnusson at a pre-recorded event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival - taking place in its new home at the University's Edinburgh College of Art. Watch the event online: see Edinburgh International Book Festival website

The James Tait Black Prizes are for the best works of fiction and biography during the previous 12 months. They are the only major British book awards judged by literature scholars and students. Prizes are awarded by the University of Edinburgh's English Literature department, which is the oldest in the world.

The James Tait Black Prizes are distinctive in the way that they are judged. Each year two academic judges rely on the help of postgraduate student readers to critically assess the shortlisted works.

The James Tait Black Prizes began celebrating books more than a century ago after Janet Tait Black née Coats - part of the renowned threadmaking family J & P Coats - made provision in her will for the creation of two book prizes to be awarded annually in memory of her husband, James Tait Black.

Since 2017 the University has also run a free online course in partnership with Edinburgh International Book Festival to offer readers the chance to engage with judges and other readers on the shortlisted fiction books. The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) - called 'How to Read a Novel' - draws on the James Tait Black fiction shortlist and to date has attracted more than 52,000 participants from across the globe.

Twitter: @EdinUniMedia - #JamesTaitBlack

For further information on the Prizes go to the University of Edinburgh website.