The David Cohen Prize for Literature 2021

Highlights from the announcement of the David Cohen Prize, awarded 13th December 2021 to Colm Tóibín. The event was held at RIBA in London, and also announced the winner of the Clarissa Luard Award, the poet Padraig Regan.

The David Cohen Prize was established in 1992 and is known across the world as one of the UK and Ireland’s most distinguished literary honours. Awarded biennially, the prize is worth £40,000 and recognises a living writer from the UK or the Republic of Ireland for a lifetime’s achievement in literature. The Prize is donated by the John S Cohen Foundation and managed by New Writing North.

The Clarissa Luard Award, funded by Arts Council England, is an award of £10,000 made in support of an emerging writer or a writing organisation, and is selected by the winner of the David Cohen Prize for Literature.

The judging panel for the 2021 Prize was chaired by Hermione Lee, who was joined by Reeta Chakrabarti, Maura Dooley, Peter Kemp and Susheila Nasta.

The David Cohen Prize awards dramatists, essayists, biographers, novelists and poets. The previous winners are: Edna O’Brien (2019), Tom Stoppard (2017), Tony Harrison (2015), Hilary Mantel (2013), Julian Barnes (2011), Seamus Heaney (2009), Derek Mahon (2007), Michael Holroyd (2005), Beryl Bainbridge and Thom Gunn (joint winners, 2003), Doris Lessing (2001), William Trevor (1999), Muriel Spark (1997), Harold Pinter (1995) and V S Naipaul (1993).