Entertainment & Arts

Iraq War chronicles wins £25,000 writing prize

Phil Klay Image copyright Hannah Dunphy
Image caption Phil Klay served in Iraq before studying creative writing

A former US Marine has won a top literary prize for his book dealing with American experiences of the Iraq War.

Phil Klay's short story collection Redeployment has won the £25,000 Warwick Prize for Writing 2015.

The book examines the effects of the conflict in Iraq, from the perspectives of the soldiers and other people involved.

Head judge, author AL Kennedy, said it was a "scaldingly affecting book".

She added: "There is remarkable control, delicacy and subtlety in the spare style of prose here and a real grip of various psychologies and voices across the collection.

"Within his own terms, the author has reflected a wide range of experience and has translated personal knowledge into living fiction. Redeployment addresses - with remarkable frankness and nuance - one of the defining conflicts of our age.

"We were delighted to give the prize to Phil Klay."

'Painful set of stories'

Klay's book chronicles the experiences and effect of the war in Iraq from the perspective of the anguished military wife at home, the military chaplain and the veterans.

The author himself served in Iraq before going on to study creative writing.

US President Barack Obama said: "Redeployment is a quick but powerful and, for me, painful set of stories about the experience of ordinary soldiers in Iraq."

The Warwick Prize for Writing, run by the University of Warwick, is awarded every two years for a substantial piece of writing in the English language and this year's theme was Instinct.

It is an international and cross-disciplinary award, open to any genre or form of writing.

The other shortlisted titles were Karen Joy Fowler's We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Rebecca Goss's Her Birth, Karl Ove Knausgaard's A Man In Love, Marilynne Robinson's Lila and Mark Vanhoenacker's Skyfaring.

The award was presented at a ceremony hosted by Warwick Chancellor Sir Richard Lambert.

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