David Cohen Prize for Literature 2011
The David Cohen Prize for Literature 2011 has been awarded to the English novelist, essayist and short story writer Julian Barnes for his lifetime’s achievement in literature. Visit the award website for more information and visit the Front Row website to listen to an interview with Julian Barnes and Mark Lawson.
Julian Barnes is one of England’s foremost fiction writers. Shortlisted on three occasions for the Man Booker Prize (for Flaubert’s Parrot, England, England, and Arthur and George), he is as lauded overseas as in his homeland. The French Ministry of Culture named him Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2004 and he has also been awarded the Austrian State Prize for Literature.
On winning the Prize Julian Barnes said:
‘The measure of a literary award's value lies in its list of previous winners. Over the last 18 years the David Cohen Prize has established itself as the greatest honour a British or Irish writer can receive within these islands. It is also conducted with proper secrecy and dignity. So it is a matter of sober delight to be added to the list of prize-winners.’Mark Lawson, chair of judges, said of this year’s winner:
‘The David Cohen Prize is in effect a UK version of the Nobel Prize for Literature, open to writers of fiction and non-fiction, comedy and tragedy. Within those divisions, there are writers who are most efficient at prose or dialogue, structure or style, narrative or character, plot or ideas, novels or short stories. What is remarkable about Julian Barnes is that he has excelled in all these areas: from the combination of literary criticism and fiction in Flaubert's Parrot, through the structural daring of the multiple narratives in A History of the World in 10½ Chapters to the historical faction of Arthur and George and the essayistic reflection on faith and mortality in Nothing To Be Frightened Of. The already extraordinary list of David Cohen Prize-winning authors has been fittingly extended.’