The David Cohen Prize will next be awarded in 2023. The 2023 judges are the eminent writers, journalists and critics: Hermione Lee (Chair of the Judges), Aida Edemariam, Helen Mort,Malachy Tallack and Boyd Tonkin.
Hermione Lee (Chair of Judges)
Hermione Lee is a literary biographer and Emeritus Professor of Literature at the University of Oxford, where she was President of Wolfson College from 2008 to 2017 and founded the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing. Her work includes biographies of Virginia Woolf, Edith Wharton, Penelope Fitzgerald and Tom Stoppard, critical books on Elizabeth Bowen, Willa Cather and Philip Roth, and books about life-writing: Body Parts in 2005, a “Very Short Introduction” to Biography in 2009, and, in 2020, a co-edited collection, Lives of Houses. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Literature, and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2013 she was made a Dame for services to literary scholarship.
She has judged a number of literary prizes in the past, including the Booker (twice), the Hawthornden Prize (for twelve years), the W.H. Smith Award, the Guardian First Book Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. She was a judge for the David Cohen Prize in 1999 when it was awarded to William Trevor.
Image credit John Cairns
Aida Edemariam‘s first book, The Wife’s Tale, was a finalist for a Governor General’s Literary Award in Canada and won both a Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award and the 2019 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize. She has judged various prizes, including the International Booker Prize, and is a senior feature writer and editor at the Guardian.
Helen Mort is a poet who has also written novels and non-fiction. Her collections Division Street, No Map Could Show Them and The Illustrated Woman are all published by Chatto & Windus. Her memoir A Line Above the Sky (Ebury, 2022) is shortlisted for the Boardman Tasker Award. She’s a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and teaches at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Malachy Tallack is the award-winning author of four books, most recently Illuminated by Water (Doubleday, 2022). His novel, The Valley at the Centre of the World (Canongate, 2018) was a BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime; it was shortlisted for the Highland Book Prize and longlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize. Malachy is from Shetland, and currently lives in Fife.
Boyd Tonkin is a journalist, editor and critic who in 2020 was awarded the Royal Society of Literature’s Benson Medal for service to literature over the course of a career. His writing on literature and arts appears in international media including The Economist, The Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and Times Literary Supplement. As Literary Editor and then Senior Writer of The Independent (1996-2016), he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in collaboration with Arts Council England, and judged it 2001-2015. He chaired the Man Booker International Prize 2016 and then served as the prize’s Special Adviser. His reader’s guide to global fiction, The 100 Best Novels in Translation, is published by Galileo. He is a Trustee of the Orwell Foundation, a member of the Booker Prize Foundation’s advisory committee, and an editorial adviser to the journal Critical Muslim.
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