James Tait Black Prize winners announced

Image copyright Edinburgh University

James Shapiro and Benjamin Markovits have been announced as the winners of the prestigious James Tait Black Prizes.

Shapiro was awarded the biography prize for 1606, Shakespeare and the Year of Lear.

Markovits received the fiction prize for utopian novel You Don't Have to Live Like This.

The £10,000 prizes were announced by Sally Magnusson at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The prizes are awarded by the University of Edinburgh and are Britain's oldest literary awards.

James Shapiro is a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, and a leading authority on Shakespeare.

His winning book is a sequel to 1599, and details how the events of 1606 shaped Shakespeare's writing in the tumultuous year of King Lear, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra.

You Don't Have to Live Like this is set in Detroit around the time of the financial crash and Barack Obama's election in 2008.

It is the sixth novel by Benjamin Markovits, who was a professional basketball player before becoming a writer. Markovits is an author, journalist and critic who now teaches creative writing at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Previous prize winners include Graham Greene, DH Lawrence, Cormac McCarthy, Ian McEwan, Muriel Spark, Evelyn Waugh, Martin Amis and Quentin Bell.

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