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About the Prize

The Warwick Prize for Writing is an innovative literature prize featuring global competition, and crossing all genres and forms. It was awarded every two years for an excellent and substantial piece of writing in the English language.

The theme of the 2015 Prize was 'instinct', the unspoken and deep-lying motivation for good deeds and evil acts.

In 2009 the winner of the inaugural Prize was announced as Naomi Klein for The Shock Doctrine. The second Warwick Prize for Writing was awarded to Peter Forbes for his work Dazzled and Deceived: Mimicry and Camouflage and the 2013 Prize was awarded to Alice Oswald for her poem, Memorial. Phil Klay was named the winner of the Warwick Prize for Writing 2015 for his short story collection, Redeployment.

The Prize was an extension of Warwick's commitment to the nurture and support of literary work, emerging writing talent and the creative industries. We are home to the acclaimed Warwick Writing Programme, which includes renowned authors such as Ian Sansom, Jonathan Skinner, Maureen Freely as well as Prize Co-Director Sarah Moss. In 2014 the programme was voted number one for creative writing by The Times and The Sunday Times.

Each winner of the Warwick Prize received the opportunity to take up a short placement at the University of Warwick where they encouraged and inspired the next generation of literary talent.

Professor David Morley, Co-Director of the Warwick Prize for Writing, writes:

How does writing evolve? Where is its moving edge? Is all writing - at its best - a type of creative writing?

These are questions I ask myself all the time as a poet and as professor of creative writing at Warwick. When I was a young research scientist I found myself facing the same issues because I often reached a zone where the current knowledge simply tapered to nothing. When scientists reach this point, this moving edge of knowledge, they surf forwards by a combination of previous knowledge, guesswork, and intuition. They become poets; they write - and they imagine - themselves into presence. They create possibility.

I always regarded science at this level as a form of creative writing. They physicist Niels Bohr observed, 'When it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creative images'. The best writing creates possibility. My point is that, as with a poem or a paradigm, knowledge formation has a moving edge, a place where 'not knowing' is almost as important as knowing. If we accept that writing makes you think, and that the formation of knowledge depends partly on the complex and often playful process of writing, then what role does the process of writing play on that very edge of 'not knowing' and knowing: a place of creativity, energy and adventure.