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The Somerset Maugham Award

The Somerset Maugham Award is a British literary prize given each May by the Society of Authors. It is awarded to who they judge to be the best writer or writers under the age of thirty-five of a book published in the past year. The prize was instituted in 1947 by William Somerset Maugham and thus bears his name: the award is currently £6000 per winner, to be spent on foreign travel. The total fund for each year is £12000

Since 1964, multiple winners have usually been chosen in the same year. In 1975, the award was not given. The Award has twice been won by the son of a previous winner: Kingsley Amis (winner in 1955) was the father of Martin Amis (1974), and Nigel Kneale (1950) the father of Matthew Kneale (1988).

Winners 1947- 2009

2009 Adam Foulds for The Broken Word (Cape), Alice Albinia for Empires of the Indus: The Story of a River (John Murray), Rodge Glass for Alasdair Gray: A Secretary’s Biography (Bloomsbury), Henry Hitchings for The Secret Life of Words: How English Became English (John Murray), Thomas Leveritt for The Exchange Rate Between Love and Money (Harvill Secker) and Helen Walsh for Once Upon a Time in England (Canongate).

2008 Gwendoline Riley for Joshua Spassky (Cape) Steven Hall for The Raw Shark Texts (Canongate) Nick Laird for On Purpose (Faber) and Adam Thirlwell for Miss Herbert (Cape)

2007 Horatio Clare Running to the Hills (John Murray) James Scudamore The Amnesia Clinic (Harvill Secker)

2006 Chris Cleave Incendiary (Chatto & Windus) Owen Sheers Skirrid Hill (Seren) Zadie Smith On Beauty (Hamish Hamilton)

2005 Justin Hill Passing Under Heaven (Abacus) Maggie O'Farrell The Distance Between Us (Review)

2004 Charlotte Mendelson Daughters of Jerusalem (Picador) Mark Blayney Two Kinds of Silence (Manuscript Publishing) Robert Macfarlane Mountains of the Mind (Granta)

2003 Hari Kunzru The Impressionist (Hamish Hamilton) William Fiennes The Snow Geese (Picador) Jon McGregor If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things (Bloomsbury)

2002 Charlotte Hobson Black Earth City (Granta) Marcel Theroux The Paperchase (Abacus)

2001 Edward Platt Leadville (Picador Macmillan) Ben Rice Pobby and Dingan (Jonathan Cape)

2000 Bella Bathurst The Lighthouse Stevensons (HarperCollins) Sarah Waters Affinity (Virago)

1999 Andrea Ashworth Once In a House On Fire (Picador Macmillan) Paul Farley The Boy from the Chemist Is Here To See You (Picador Macmillan) Giles Foden The Last King of Scotland (Faber & Faber) Jonathan Freedland Bring Home the Revolution (Fourth Estate)

1998 Rachel Cusk The Country Life (Picador Macmillan) Jonathan Rendall This Bloody Mary is the Last Thing I Own (Faber and Faber) Kate Summerscale The Queen of Whale Cay (Fourth Estate) Robert Twigger Angry White Pyjamas (Indigo)

1997 Rhidian Brook THE Testimony of Taliesin Jones (Flamingo) Kate Clanchy Slattern (Chatto & Windus) Philip Hensher Kitchen Venom (Hamish Hamilton) Francis Spufford I May Be Some Time (Faber and Faber)

1996 Katherine Pierpoint Truffle Beds (Faber and Faber) Alan Warner Morvern Callar (Vintage)

1995 Patrick French Younghusband (Harper Collins) Simon Garfield The End of Innocence (Faber and FAber) Kathleen Jamie The Queen of Sheba (Bloodaxe Books) Laura Thompson The Dogs (Chatto & Windus)

1994 Jackie Kay Other Lovers (Bloodaxe Books) A.L. Kennedy Looking for the Possible Dance (Secker & Warburg) Philip Marsden Crossing Place (Harper Collins)

1993 Dea Birkett Jella (Gollancz) Duncan McLean Bucket of Tongues (Secker & Warburg) Glyn Maxwell Out of the Rain (Bloodaxe Books)

1992 Geoff Dyer But Beautiful (Jonathan Cape) Lawrence Norfolk Lempriere’s Dictionary (S. Stevenson) Gerard Woodward Householder (Chatto & Windus)

1991 Peter Benson The Other Occupant (Macmillan) Lesley Glaister Honour Thy Father (Secker & Warburg) Helen Simpson Four Bare Legs in a Bed (Heinemann)

1990 Mark Hudson Our Grandmother’s Drums (Secker & Warburg) Sam North The Automatic Man (Secker & Warburg) Nicholas Shakespeare The Vision of Elena Silves (Collins Harvill)

1989 Rupert Christiansen Romantic Affinities (Bodley Head) Alan Hollingshurst The Swimming Pool Library (Chatto & Windus) Deirdre Madden The Birds of the Innocent Wood (Faber and Faber)

1988 Jimmy Burns The Land That Lost Its Heroes (Bloomsbury) Carol Ann Duffy Selling Manhattan (Anvil) Matthew Kneale Whore Banquets (Gollancz Heinemann)

1987 Stephen Gregory The Cormorant (Heinemann) Janni Howker Isaac Campion (Julia MacRae) Andrew Motion The Lamberts (Chatto & Windus)

1986 Patricia Ferguson Family Myths and Legends (Andre Deutsch) Adam Nicolson Frontiers (Wiedenfeld & Nicolson) Tim Parks Tongues of Flame (Heinemann)

1985 Blake Morrison Dark Glasses (Chatto & Windus) Jeremy Reed By the Fisheries (Jonathan Cape) Jane Rogers Her Living Image (Faber and Faber)

1984 Peter Ackroyd The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde (Hamish Hamilton) Timothy Garton Ash The Polish Revolution: Solidarity (Jonathan Cape) Sean O’Brien The Indoor Park (Bloodaxe Books)

1983 Lisa St Aubin de Teran Keepers of the House (Jonathan Cape)

1982 William Boyd A Good Man in Africa (Hamish Hamilton) Adam Mars-Jones Lantern Lecture (Faber & Faber)

1981 Julian Barnes Metroland (Jonathan Cape) Clive Sinclair Hearts of Gold (Allison & Busby) A.N.Wilson The Healing Art (Secker & Warburg)

1980 Max Hastings Bomber Command (Michael Joseph) Christopher Reid Arcadia (OUP) Humphrey Carpenter The Inklings (Allen & Unwin)

1979 Helen Hodgman Jack & Jill (Duckworth) Sara Maitland Daughter of Jerusalem (Blond & Briggs)

1978 Tom Paulin A State of Justice (Faber & Faber) Nigel Williams My Life Closed Twice (Secker & Warburg)

1977 Richard Holmes Shelley: The Pursuit (Quartet Books)

1976 Dominic Cooper The Dead of Winter (Chatto & Windus) Ian McEwan First Love, Last Rites (Jonathan Cape)

1975 No Award

1974 Martin Amis The Rachel Papers (Jonathan Cape)

1973 Peter Prince Play Things (Gollancz) Paul Strathern A Season in Abyssinia (Macmillan) Jonathan Street Prudence Dictates (Hart-Davis)

1972 Douglas Dunn Terry Street (Faber and Faber) Gillian Tindall Fly Away Home (Hodder & Stoughton)

1971 Susan Hill I’m the King of the Castle (Hamish Hamilton) Richard Barber The Knight and Chivalry (Longman) Michael Hastings Tussy Is Me (Weidenfeld)

1970 Jane Gaskell A Sweet, Sweet Summer (Hodder & Stoughton) Piers Paul Read Monk Dawson (Secker & Warburg)

1969 Angela Carter Several Perceptions (Heinemann)

1968 Paul Bailey At The Jerusalem (Jonathan Cape) Seamus Heaney Death of a Naturalist (Faber and Faber)

1967 B.S. Johnson Trawl (Secker & Warburg) Andrew Sinclair The Better Half (Jonathan Cape)

1966 Michael Frayn The Tin Men (Collins) Julian Mitchell The White Father (Constable)

1965 Peter Everett Negatives (Jonathan Cape)

1964 Dan Jacobson Time of Arrival (Weidenfeld) John Le Carré The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Gollancz)

1963 David Storey Flight Into Camden (Longman)

1962 Hugh Thomas The Spanish Civil War (Eyre & Spottiswood)

1961 V.S. Naipaul Miguel Street (Deutsch)

1960 Ted Hughes The Hawk in the Rain (Faber and Faber)

1959 Thom Gunn A Sense of Movement (Faber and Faber)

1958 John Wain Preliminary Essays (Macmillan)

1957 George Lamming  (Michael Joseph)

1956 Elizabeth Jennings A Way oIn the Castle of my Skinf Looking (Deutsch)

1955 Kingsley Amis Lucky Jim (Gollancz)

1954 Doris Lessing Five Short Novels (Michael Joseph)

1953 Emyr Humphreys Hear and Forgive (Gollancz)

1952 Francis King The Dividing Stream (Longmans)

1951 Roland Camberton Scamp (John Lehmann)

1950 Nigel Kneale Tomato Cain & Other Stories (Collins)

1949 Hamish Henderson Elegies for the Dead in Cyrenaica (John Lehmann)

1948 P.H.Newby Journey to the Interior (Jonathan Cape)

1947 A.L.Barker Innocents (Hogarth Press)

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