2017 PEN Ackerley Prize with Decca Aitkenhead, Amy Liptrot and Lara Pawson

Wednesday 5 July, 7:00 pm8:15 pm |£5 - £8

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Come and hear Decca Aitkenhead, Amy Liptrot and Lara Pawson, this year’s  shortlisted authors, read from and discuss their work with chair of judges Peter Parker, before the winner of the 2017 prize is announced.

The PEN Ackerley Prize is awarded to a literary autobiography of excellence, written by a British author and published during the preceding year. It is the only UK prize dedicated solely to memoir. Previous winners include Alice Jolly, Henry Marsh, Sonali Deraniyagala, Richard Holloway, Alan Bennett, Blake Morrison, Lorna Sage and Michael Frayn.

Ticket price includes a glass of wine following the event.

Book tickets

PEN Members are eligible for a discount on tickets for this event. If you would like to know more, please email alice@englishpen.org


Decca Aitkenhead is an award-winning journalist for the Guardian newspaper, where she interviews leading figures in public life. She was born in Wiltshire in 1971, and studied politics and modern history at Manchester University, where she began her career in journalism at the Manchester Evening News. She has been a columnist and features writer for most national newspapers and magazines, and a regular contributor to BBC radio and television. She lives in London. In 2000 she wrote a travel book, The Promised Land.

Amy Liptrot has published her work with various magazines, journals and blogs and she has written a regular column for Caught by the River out of which The Outrun has emerged. As well as writing for major newspapers including the Guardian and the Observer, Amy has worked as an artist’s model, a trampolinist and in a shellfish factory. The Outrun was awarded the 2016 Wainwright Prize and was shortlisted for the 2016 Wellcome Prize.

Lara Pawson’s work has been published in many places, including the Times Literary Supplement, ArtReview, The Guardian, frieze, Open Democracy, Radical Philosophy and the London Review of Books. She worked as a BBC World Service correspondent and programme producer from 1998-2007. She has held fellowships at Cambridge University and the University of Witwatersrand. This Is The Place To Be, is a  fragmentary memoir which is published  with CB editions. It is based on the long looping monologue, Non Correspondence, which was directed by Forced Entertainment’s Tim Etchells and performed by Cathy Naden at the Battersea Arts Centre for the London International Festival of Theatre 2014, After A War. She is also the author of In the Name of the People: Angola’s Forgotten Massacre (IB Tauris, 2014) was her first book. It was nominated for several awards and longlisted for The Orwell Prize 2015

Joe Randolph Ackerley (1896-1967) was an author and long-time literary editor of The Listener magazine. The J. R. Ackerley prize was endowed by his sister Nancy in his memory.

Peter Parker is the author of Housman Country, The Last Veteran, The Old Lie: The Great War and the Public-School Ethos, and biographies of J. R. Ackerley and Christopher Isherwood. He is an advisory editor of The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and has written about books, painting, architecture and gardening for a wide variety of newspapers and magazines.

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