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Jacob Polley wins Somerset Maugham Award

17th June 2010

The three winners of the Somerset Maugham Award have been named by the Society of Authors.

Jacob Polley scooped the award's first prize of GBP 5,000 with Talk of the Town. Helen Oyeyemi took the GBP 3,000 second prize for White is for Witching and Ben Wilson won GBP 2,000 after What Price Liberty? came in third.

Created and endowed by The Razor's Edge author Somerset Maugham in 1947, the award allows writers under the age of 35 to enrich their craft by spending time overseas, with the prize money specifically set aside for travel.

'The Somerset Maugham Award may be best known for its being given to Kingsley Amis - who famously disliked foreign travel and used the money to write a book called I Like It Here - in 1955, for Lucky Jim,' the organisers explained.

In addition, the Society of Authors announced that the GBP 5,000 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography was awarded to Tristram Hunt for The Frock-Coated Communist.

Gillian Allnutt, Colette Bryce, Gwyneth Lewis and Deryn Rees-Jones also won GBP 1,500 each in the Cholmondeley Awards, which is the society's annual prize for distinguished poets.

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