Mark Rylance-backed novel wins £5,000 literary prize

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image captionMark Rylance (l) and Zac Goldsmith are among The Wake's most prominent supporters

A debut novel whose supporters include actor Mark Rylance and Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith has won a £5,000 award given to "fearless" new writing.

Former journalist Paul Kingsnorth was recognised for The Wake, in which 11th Century Anglo-Saxons wage a guerrilla insurgency against the Norman invaders.

Rylance is such a fan that he read from the book at this year's Hay Festival.

Actor Julian Barratt and artist Sarah Lucas were among the judges for the second annual Gordon Burn Prize.

Burn, who died of bowel cancer in 2009, wrote the Whitbread Prize-winning Alma Cogan and three other novels.

According to organisers, the Gordon Burn Prize "seeks to recognise writers whose work follows in his fearless footsteps".

'Linguistic flair'

The inaugural prize was won by Pig Iron by Benjamin Myers, a member of the panel who decided this year's recipient.

The Durham native praised The Wake for its "dazzling display of linguistic flair" and predicted "future generations will regard [it] as a classic".

The Wake is published by Unbound, a crowd-sourced platform that names the Tony- and Olivier-winning Rylance among its investors.

Born in 1972, Kingsnorth is the author of two non-fiction books and has won several awards for his poetry and essays.

His work beat five other titles to this year's prize, among them American Interior by Super Furry Animals musician Gruff Rhys.

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