|Saturday, 01 March 2003|
An international judging panel, meeting in Kandy has awarded the 2003 Commonwealth Writers Prize Best Book Award, Eurasia region to Michael Frayn for his novel Spies (Faber and Faber, UK). The Best First Book Award was awarded to Sarah Hall for her first novel Haweswater (Faber and Faber, UK). Each wins $ 1,000.
The Eurasia Panel of the Commonwealth Writers Prize considered fiction written in English from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Untied Kingdom, Malta, Maldives and Cyprus.
Spies and Haweswater are now carried forward to the final stage of the Commonwealth Writers Prize, which will be decided in Calgary, Canada in May 2003. They join books in each category, selected by the three other international juries, covering Africa; Canada and the Caribbean; and South East Asia and the South Pacific. $ 10,000 will then be awarded to the overall Best Book, and $ 3,000 to the overall Best Fist Book, states a press release.
Michael Frayn's Spies blends comedy and tragedy with supreme skill as its tale of a boy's misadventures in the suburbs of wartime London grows into both a sparkling depiction of childhood fear and fantasy, and a subtle study of the tricks of memory.
He was born in London in 1933 and began his career as a journalist on The Guardian and The Observer.
In Haweswater, Sarah Hall transforms a conflict between rural tradition and industrial progress in the English Lake District of the 1930's into a passionate and lyrical drama that gives local history the force of timeless myth.
Sarah Hall was born in Cumbria in 1974. She lives and works in North Carolina and completed an M.Litt in Creative Writing at St. Andrews University. Haweswater is her first novel.
The Chair of the Eurasia judging panel was Professor Walter Perera, Professor of English, University of Peradeniya. The other judges were Sanjukta Dasgupta, writer, critic and academic from Calcutta University and Boyd Tonkin, Literary Editor of the UK daily, The Independent.
Produced by Lake House