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Empowering authors

CELEBRATED: ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award

THE SHORTLISTS for the Betty Trask, McKitterick, Somerset Maugham, ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award and the inaugural Paul Torday Memorial Prize, an award for a first novel by a writer over 60, were announced by The Society of Authors this week.

Nigerian-British south London-based writer, single mother and blogger, Bunmi Ogunsiji, has been shortlisted for the ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award for her short story Blessing and Hackney born Raymond Antrobus, is up for a Somerset Maugham Award for his debut poetry collection The Perseverance (Penned in the Margins).

Both are among a list of 31 shortlisted writers and poets. In a celebration of inclusivity and the power of storytelling, the shortlisted names include established bestsellers, debut authors, poets and short story writers, with the oldest nominee, Irish debut novelist Norma MacMaster, aged 82.

The judges for each award, including Kate Mosse, Gary Younge, Mark Lawson, Anita Sethi, Vaseem Khan, Susan Hill, Stuart Evers, Irenosen Okojie and Jen Campbell were united in their praise for “inventive, courageous, challenging and evocative writing that explores both the everyday and the extraordinary”, with stories exploring the personal and political via themes of displacement, love, friendship, community and loss.

The five prizes will be awarded at the Society of Authors’ Awards on June 17, a unique night of riches, which will see the UK’s biggest literary fund of more than £100,000 awarded by authors for authors.

The event has rewarded the early works of some of today’s most prominent literary gures, 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.

The Society of Authors’ Awards is the UK’s biggest literary prize fund and has, since 1943, grown to celebrate established and emerging writers of poetry, ction and non-fiction.

A collection of nine prizes, uniquely run by authors for authors and shared each year between more than 30 writers, the Authors’ Awards reward, empower and bring recognition to writers at every stage of their careers.

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