The Society of Authors has announced the shortlists for the Betty Trask, McKitterick, ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Awards, the Paul Torday Memorial Prize, and inaugural Queen’s Knickers Award, a new accolade recognising an outstanding children’s illustrated book for ages 0-7.
The wide-ranging list of 29 shortlisted writers, poets and illustrators who seek to share an awards fund of £100,000 includes: TV news presenter and Royal Television Society Award winner George Alagiah OBE; Twitter’s unofficial Poet Laureate, Brian Bilston; Taffy Brodesser-Akner, New York Times Magazine staff writer and international bestseller; Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner, former bookseller and videogame producer, Lynda Clark; Costa and Carnegie Medal-winning author Sally Gardner; Gaby Koppel, a freelance TV Producer with credits including Crime Watch and Rip-Off Britain; illustrator Nick Maland, winner of the Book Trust Early Years Award; poet, biology student and activist Ani Kayode Somtochukwu; and Sunday Times bestselling novelists Stacey Halls and Sara Collins.
The diverse backgrounds and varied journeys to publication of the 2020 shortlistees showcases the inclusive power of the written word, by demonstrating there is no single route to becoming a successful author. The talent celebrated is also global with recognition for writers and illustrators from Guatemala, to Nigeria, Tobago and Australia, as well as acclaimed British names.
The winners will be announced online on Thursday 18th June, with a series of short films to celebrate this year’s winning and shortlisted authors. As part of the SoA @ Home festival, a series of free online events focused on the SoA Awards will run throughout June featuring shortlistees, judges (including Sarah Waters and Barney Norris), past winners, and a special in-conversation event on the afternoon of 18th June with Cressida Cowell.
Further awards presented on Thursday 18th June are the Eric Gregory Awards for a collection of poems by a poet under 30, the Cholmondeley Awards for a body of work by a poet, the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography, Travelling Scholarships awarded to British creative writers to enable them to keep in contact with writing colleagues abroad, and The Somerset Maugham Awards for published works of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by writers under 30 to enable them to enrich their work by gaining experience of foreign countries.
The Society of Authors’ Awards has rewarded the early works of some of today’s most prominent literary figures such as Zadie Smith, Seamus Heaney, Helen Dunmore, Hari Kunzru, Carol Ann Duffy and Mark Haddon and honoured the careers of established figures including Dylan Thomas, Fay Weldon, William Golding and Margaret Drabble.
See here for the complete shortlists.