Shortlist announced for PEN/Ackerley Prize 2011

English PEN is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2011 PEN/Ackerley Prize for Memoir. The shortlisted authors are:

John BurnsideWaking Up in Toytown (Cape)
Edmund de WaalThe Hare with Amber Eyes (Chatto)
Michael Frayn – My Father’s Fortune (Faber)
Jackie KayRed Dust Road (Picador)   

The PEN/Ackerley Prize is judged by Georgina Hammick, Francis King, Peter Parker (chair) and Colin Spencer. The award is given to a literary autobiography of outstanding merit, written by an author of British nationality and published in the United Kingdom in the previous year. Past winners include Alan Bennett, Jenny Diski, Lorna Sage, Blake Morrison, Barry Humphries and Margaret Forster.

The winner receives a cheque for £2,000.

Peter Parker, Chair of the Judges, commented: ‘Memoir and autobiography are constantly evolving forms, and the judges had a particularly wide range of books from which to select a shortlist and winner this year. As a result, our longlist was unusually long, comprising books that were classic traditional examples of the genre alongside those that took a more oblique or unusual approach. After a great deal of discussion, we produced a shortlist that was unusually short, four books rather than the more usual six. It is, however, a very strong one.’

The winner of the prize will be announced at the English PEN Summer Party on Thursday 21 July. Press tickets are available.

•    Joe Randolph Ackerley (1896-1967) was an author and long-time literary editor of The Listener magazine. When Ackerley died, his sister Nancy endowed the JR Ackerley Prize in his memory.
•    English PEN is an association of writers whose 1,000 members include many of Britain’s most celebrated authors and literary professionals. PEN works in Britain and around the world to promote literature and its understanding; to campaign against the persecution and imprisonment of writers; and to promote friendly co-operation among writers.

For further information please contact:
Sarah Hesketh, Assistant Director, English PEN
0207 324 2535

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