Royal Society of Literature announces Jerwood Awards

Published in The Telegraph

Last night the Royal Society of Literature announced the winners of its annual Jerwood Awards for Non-Fiction at a ceremony in the Savile Club.

The awards – exclusively for works in progress by first-time authors – went to British-Iranian journalist Ramita Navai, forensic psychotherapist Dr Gwen Adshead and the critic Edmund Gordon.

Navai, who has won plaudits as a foreign correspondent in Syria, including an Emmy Award for her work on the television documentary Syria Undercover, was awarded £10,000 for her book City of Lies: the Undercover Truth about Tehran, an exploration of the elusive character of the Iranian capital, weaving together the lives of its inhabitants, its colourful history and the rich tapestry of its cultural heritage.

Adshead, a consultant at the Broadmoor Psychiatric Hospital in Berkshire, was awarded £5000 for A Short Book About Evil, an anatomy of evil that combines clinical vignettes with studies in psychology and theology.

Edmund Gordon was also awarded £5000 for his much-anticipated biography Angela Carter: the Biography, which will not only tell the story of the life of the English feminist novelist but also the cultural history of Britain in the 1960s.

They join a long list of literary luminaries who first found acclaim at the Jerwood Awards, running since 2004 with sponsorship by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, including Alexander Monro, Selina Mills and Rachel Campbell-Johnston.

The judges, authors Richard Davenport-Hines and Caroline Moorehead, and The Telegraph’s own literary editor Gaby Wood, stressed the importance of the awards as a financial lifeline for writers when most in need of resources.

City of Lies and A Short Book About Evil are both slated for publication in 2014, while Angela Carter: The Biography is due out in 2016.