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Inverness novelist Ali Smith wins new award –The Pleasure Of Reading prize


By Margaret Chrystall

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Ali Smith has just been awarded the new Pleasure Of Reading Prize.
Ali Smith has just been awarded the new Pleasure Of Reading Prize.

WRITER Ali Smith, originally from Inverness, has been awarded the Pleasure Of Reading Prize.

It’s the first time the prize has been awarded and it recognises an author, writing in English, who gives pleasure through their work.

The prize, sponsored by Bloomsbury Publishing, was launched in May by the charity Give a Book to mark the charity’s 10th anniversary.

The prize recognises the immense pleasure which Ali Smith’s books have given to readers far and wide.

Kamila Shamsie, Bloomsbury novelist and one of the prize judges, said: “There is a particular pleasure that arises from reading Ali Smith that accompanies her readers out into the world long after they’ve closed the covers of one of her books — it’s a pleasure that arises from the seriousness with which she treats joy.”

Ali Smith’s writing includes the four-novel Seasonal Quartet (Spring, Winter, Autumn, Summer), Public Library And Other Stories, How To Be Both, Shire, Artful, Girl Meets Boy, The Accidental, The Whole Story And Other Stories, Hotel World, Like and Free Love.

The Pleasure Of Reading Prize will be shared between Ali Smith and the charitable Give a Book projects she has chosen to support. These are Books For First Nighters in prisons and Breakfast Book Clubs for children.

The Pleasure Of Reading Prize judges were:

Lady Antonia Fraser, CH, writer and biographer (chair)

Kamila Shamsie, FRSL, novelist and Bloomsbury author

James Naughtie, FRSE, radio and news presenter, host of BBC Radio 4’s Book Club

Victoria Gray, Executive Director of Give a Book

Abdulrazak Gurnah, FRSL, novelist and Bloomsbury author.

Summer, by Ali Smith.
Summer, by Ali Smith.

Last week Summer won The Orwell Prize for political fiction in 2021.

On hearing she had won the award, Ali Smith said: “Books are always an opened window in a locked room, always an open possibility, no matter our age and our circumstance.

“And always a pleasure. What a pleasure there is in reading. What an endless meeting of minds, an endless friendship, a book in your hands.”

Ali Smith talks below about reading and her win:

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