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

English PEN is pleased to announce the shortlist for the PEN Ackerley Prize 2017 for memoir and life writing.

The shortlisted titles are:

  • Decca Aitkenhead, All at Sea (4th Estate)
  • Amy Liptrot, The Outrun (Canongate)
  • Lara Pawson, This Is the Place to Be (CB Editions)

The PEN Ackerley Prize was established in memory of Joe Randolph Ackerley (1896-1967), the author and long-time literary editor of The Listener magazine. The prize is awarded annually to a literary autobiography of outstanding merit, written by an author of British nationality and published in the UK in the previous year. The PEN Ackerley prize is judged by biographer and historian Peter Parker (chair), writer and painter Colin Spencer, author Georgina Hammick and writer and critic Claire Harman. The winner receives a cheque for £3,000.

Peter Parker, chair of judges, said:

The judges called in 36 books published in 2016, from which they drew up an extremely varied longlist of eight titles. Although the Prize is open to British writers only, we travelled long distances with our authors, visiting amongst other places the Soviet Union, Libya, the Orkneys, New York, Jamaica, and Angola and Vietnam during the wars there. And that was only for the longlist.

We ended up, unusually, with an all-women shortlist – three compelling, fearlessly honest and wonderfully written books.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday 5 July 2017 at a special prize event at the Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA.

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