Hawthornden Prize

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  • The Hawthornden Prize is a British literary award for the best work of imaginative literature.
  • It was established in 1919 by Alice Warrender, a contemporary patron of the letters, in commemoration of the Scottish poet William Drummond of Hawthornden.
  • Along with the James Tait Black Award which was established that same year, the Hawthornden is one of the UK's oldest literary prizes.
  • It has been given annually ever since, with a few gaps.
  • The term "imaginative literature" has in the past been interpretated by the judges in an extremely broad and liberal fashion as the past winners include works of non-fiction as well as fiction. There is no competition; books do not have to be, and in fact cannot be, submitted. A panel of judges decides the winner.
  • The current value of the prize is £10,000; young writers are especially encouraged.
  • When checking the recent winners, the impression is given that laureats are no newcomers, but had won other prizes before or have at least been nominated. Furthermore, the authors are graduated and often subject to Richard and Judy´s bookclub.
  • Previous winners of the Hawthornden Prize have included Sean O'Casey, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, Alan Bennett and Hilary Mantel.


The 2007 Hawthornden Prize has been awarded to M.J. Hyland (she teaches in the Centre for New Writing at Manchester University) for her novel Carry Me Down. Hylands second novel was first shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. It went on to be shortlisted for the 2007 Commonwealth Writers' Prize and longlisted for the 2007 Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction.