Carter honoured as ‘Best of the Best’

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December 8, 2012 by dontbringlulubook

The late English author and novelist Angela Carter has been named queen of fiction.

Her 1984 novel Nights at the Circus has earned Carter the title of ‘Best of the James Tait Black”.

Britain’s oldest literary prize, the James Tait Black Award, has been awarded annually since its instigation in 1919.  It was founded by Janet Coats, the widow of publisher James Tait Black, in memory of his love of literature.

Every year two prizes of £10,000 are awarded to the best biography and best work of fiction.published within the previous 12 months.

To honour 250 years of English Literature study at the University of Edinburgh, a special one-off James Tait Black award was founded this year.  It would honour the very best novel of all previous winners.

Carter was a James Tait Black joint award-winner for fiction in 1984.  She shared it with J.G. Ballard, author of Empire of the Sun.

Whereas this book went on to be read by many and adapted into an Oscar-nominated film, very few people would have taken note of Carter’s Nights at the Circus.  It was adapted for stage in 2006 where it had a short tour in London, Bristol and Leeds.

Despite little general public knowledge of this book, she was shortlisted for the prize along with authors such as Graham Greene, James Kelman, Cormac McCarthy, Caryl Phillips and Muriel Spark.

Carter’s Nights at the Circus was selected as the overall winner by a distinguished judging panel including broadcaster Kirsty Wark, former MI5 Director General and University of Edinburgh alumnus Dame Stella Rimmington, and award-winning author and writer in residence Alan Warner.

The announcement was made in a ceremony in London earlier this month.
Nights at the Circus follows the life of a 19th century ‘winged’ trapeze artist and her travels through Europe and Asia.

Other past winners of the James Tait Black awards include EM Forester, Salman Rushdie, and DH Lawrence.

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