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James Tait Black Memorial Prizes
Awarded forAwarded for literature written in the English language
First awarded1919; 101 years ago (1919)

The James Tait Black Memorial Prizes are literary prizes awarded for literature written in the English language. They, along with the Hawthornden Prize, are Britain's oldest literary awards.[1] Based at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, United Kingdom, the prizes were founded in 1919 by Janet Coats Black in memory of her late husband,[2] James Tait Black, a partner in the publishing house of A & C Black Ltd.[3] Prizes are awarded in three categories: Fiction, Biography and – since 2013 – Drama.

History

From its inception, the James Tait Black prize was organised without overt publicity. There was a lack of press and publisher attention, initially at least, because Edinburgh was distant from the literary centres of the country. The decision about the award was made by the Regius Chair of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres at the University of Edinburgh.[1]

Four winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature received the James Tait Black earlier in their careers: William Golding, Nadine Gordimer and J. M. Coetzee each collected the James Tait Black for fiction, whilst Doris Lessing took the prize for biography. In addition to these literary Nobels, Sir Ronald Ross, whose 1923 autobiography Memoirs, Etc. received the biography prize, was already a Nobel Laureate, having been awarded the 1902 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on malaria.[4]

In 2012, a third prize category was announced for Drama, with the first winner of this award announced in August 2013.[3]

Selection process and prize administration

The winners are chosen by the Professor of English Literature at the University, who is assisted by postgraduate students in the shortlisting phase, a structure which is seen to lend the prizes a consider

The James Tait Black Memorial Prizes are literary prizes awarded for literature written in the English language. They, along with the Hawthornden Prize, are Britain's oldest literary awards.[1] Based at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, United Kingdom, the prizes were founded in 1919 by Janet Coats Black in memory of her late husband,[2] James Tait Black, a partner in the publishing house of A & C Black Ltd.[3] Prizes are awarded in three categories: Fiction, Biography and – since 2013 – Drama.