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James Tait Black Memorial Prize (1919-)
Subcategory of Awards International Awards
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The James Tait Black Memorial Prizes are literary prizes awarded for literature written in the English language.

Based at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, United Kingdom, the prizes were founded in 1919 by Mrs Janet Coats Black in memory of her late husband, James Tait Black, a partner in the publishing house of A & C Black Ltd.

Prizes are awarded in three categories: Fiction, Biography and Drama.

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2024

winner y separately published work icon Praiseworthy Alexis Wright , Artarmon : Giramondo Publishing , 2023 25896114 2023 single work novel

'The new novel from the internationally acclaimed, award-winning Australian author Alexis Wright, in a limited edition hardcover.

'Praiseworthy is an epic set in the north of Australia, told with the richness of language and scale of imagery for which Alexis Wright has become renowned. In a small town dominated by a haze cloud, which heralds both an ecological catastrophe and a gathering of the ancestors, a crazed visionary seeks out donkeys as the solution to the global climate crisis and the economic dependency of the Aboriginal people. His wife seeks solace from his madness in following the dance of butterflies and scouring the internet to find out how she can seek repatriation for her Aboriginal/Chinese family to China. One of their sons, called Aboriginal Sovereignty, is determined to commit suicide. The other, Tommyhawk, wishes his brother dead so that he can pursue his dream of becoming white and powerful. This is a novel which pushes allegory and language to its limits, a cry of outrage against oppression and disadvantage, and a fable for the end of days.' (Publication summary)

Year: 1980

winner y separately published work icon Waiting for the Barbarians J. M. Coetzee , London : Secker and Warburg , 1980 6303247 1980 single work novel 'How do you eradicate contempt, especially when that contempt is founded on nothing more substantial than differences in table manners, variations in the structure of the eyelid? Shall I tell you what I sometimes wish? I wish that these barbarians would rise up and teach us a lesson, so that we would learn to respect them.

After twenty years of peacefully running one of the Empire’s settlements, a magistrate takes pity on an enemy barbarian who has been tortured. He enters into an awkward intimate relationship with her, and then is himself imprisoned as an enemy of the state.

Waiting for the Barbarians is a disturbing political fable about oppression, the fraught desire for reparation, and about living with a troubled conscience under an unjust regime.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 1959

winner y separately published work icon The Devil's Advocate Morris West , 1959 London : Heinemann , 1959 Z528667 1959 single work novel
— Appears in: Reader's Digest Condensed Books: volume four, 1960, Autumn selections 1960;

'A moving exploration of the meaning of faith, and a vivid portrayal of life in impoverished post-war Calabria.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Allen & Unwin, 2017).

Year: 1932

winner y separately published work icon Boomerang Helen Simpson , London : Heinemann , 1932 Z541684 1932 single work novel

Works About this Award

Australian Success 1933 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian Women's Weekly , 1 July vol. 1 no. 4 1933; (p. 39)
Australian Novelist Wins James Tait Black Prize 1933 single work column
— Appears in: All About Books , 14 August vol. 5 no. 8 1933; (p. 124)