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Julian Barnes awarded David Cohen Prize

21st March 2011

Julian Barnes has been awarded the David Cohen Prize for Literature, given biennially to a writer in recognition of their entire body of work.

The 65-year-old, whose novels include Flaubert's Parrot and Arthur & George, said the GBP 40,000 prize has 'established itself as the greatest honour a British or Irish writer can receive within these islands'.

Previous recipients include Harold Pinter, V. S. Naipaul and 2009 winner Seamus Heaney, with Barnes claiming this list alone illustrates the prestige of the award.

Chairman of the judges Mark Lawson joined Barnes in referencing the previous winners, including Beryl Bainbridge, Muriel Spark and Doris Lessing, adding that the list has been 'fittingly extended'.

The winner of the David Cohen Prize also receives the GBP 12,500 Clarissa Luard Award, which Barnes donated to the Reading Agency to assist its aim of boosting literacy among young offenders.

Barnes' work has spanned several genres and has taken many forms, including reviews and essays during his time with the Observer and the New Statesman, short story collections such as The Lemon Table and novels including the Man Booker Prize-nominated England, England.

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