The Bookseller – News – Will McPhail’s graphic novel wins £10k Betty Trask Prize

new yorker Cartoonist Will McPhail’s In has become the first graphic novel to win the £10,000 Betty Trask Prize at the Society of Authors (SoA) Awards.

The winners were announced on 1st June, with 32 writers, poets and illustrators sharing the UK’s biggest literary prize fund of more than £100,000.

McPhail’s In: The Graphic Novel (Scepter) is an account of a young illustrator’s struggle to find connection, and was praised by judges as a “devastating vision of contemporary loneliness”.

“I cannot begin to describe how much this award means to me,” McPhail said. “I probably should be able to describe it, being an author and all, but if you’ve read my book then you’ll know that I do most of my describing through drawings of people looking all sad at each other.

“Being nominated alongside these wonderful authors was already a surreal dream and the fact that In was picked as the first graphic novel to win this award is the honor of a lifetime. My only worry is that I’m now too happy to draw sad people.”

Among this year’s winners are software developer turned children’s author Alastair Chisholm and illustrator David Roberts, who won the £5,000 Queen’s Knickers award with Inch and Grub (Walker Books), a “joyfully funny” children’s book.

Maame Blue picked up her second award in a row, following her triumph last year as a 2021 Betty Trask Award winner. This year she has been chosen as one of the 2022 Traveling Scholarship recipients, selected for her project of “shadowing Othello” through exchanges with Ghanian writers in Italy. Author Ayisha Malik is also a recipient of the £1,333 prize.

Other winners include Welsh poet Menna Elfyn, who is among five other winners of the Cholmondeley Prize, and receives £1,680 for her contribution to poetry, and début novelist David Annand, who has won the £4,000 McKitterick Prize for Peterdown (Corsair). The 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize-winner Kanya D’Almeida won the £1,000 ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award for “I Cleaned The—”, while previous SoA awards shortlistee Sheila Llewellyn is taking home the inaugural Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize for Winter in Tabiz (Scepter). She shares the £2,750 prize fund with runner-up Jamie O’Connell, who is recognized for Diving for Pearls (Doubleday/Transworld).

Caleb Azumah Nelson scooped a £4,050 Betty Trask award and a £3,200 Somerset Maugham award for open-water (Vikings). Stephanie Sy-Quia, who also picked up a Somerset Maugham award for her poetry collection amnion (Granta) is among the winners of the Eric Gregory award, which recognizes a collection of published or unpublished poetry from a poet aged 30 or under.

Lemn Sissay and Joanne Harris will be congratulating the winners in a live ceremony taking place at Southwark Cathedral tonight, sponsored by ALCS.

The winners in full:
Betty Trask Prize winner:
Winner: Will McPhail for In: The Graphic Novel (Scepter)
The Betty Trask Award winners:
Megan Nolan for Acts of Desperation (Jonathan Cape)
Natasha Brown for Assembly (Hamish Hamilton)
Caleb Azumah Nelson for open-water (Vikings)
AK Blakemore for The Manningtree Witches (great)
The McKitterick Prize
Winner: David Annand for peterdown (Little, Brown Group)
Runner-up: Lisa Taddeo for Animal (Bloombury)
The Cholmondeley Award winners
Menna Elfyn
David Kinloch
Tiffany Atkinson
Gerry Loose
Maggie O’Sullivan
The Eric Gregory Awards winners
Stephanie Sy-Quia for amnion (great)
Daniella Fearon for Monochrome Lens
Jack Cooper for Break the Nose of Every Beautiful Thing
Maisie Newman for Our Names Were Oil
Courtney Conrad for Revelations
Rhiya Pau for routes
Joe Carrick-Varty for Sky Doc
The ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award winner
Kanya D’Almeida for “I Cleaned the—”
Runner-up: Dean Gessie for “Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump”
The Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize
Winner: Sheila Llewellyn for Winter in Tabiz (Scepter)
Runner-up: Jamie O’Donnell for Diving for Pearls (Doubleday/Transworld)
Paul Torday Memorial Prize
Winner: Jane Fraser for advent (Honno Press)
Runners-up: Michael Mallon for The Disciple (Zuleika)
Queen’s Knickers Award
Winners: Alastair Chisholm and David Roberts for Inch and Grub (Walker Books)
Runners-up: Mick Jackson and John Broadley for While You’re Sleeping (Pavilion Children’s Books)
Somerset Maugham Awards
Stephanie Sy-Quia for amnion (great)
Caleb Azumah Nelson for open-water (Vikings)
Tice Cin for Keeping the House (And Other Stories)
Lucia Osborne-Crowley for My Body Keeps Your Secrets (The Indigo Press)
Maia Elsner for Overrun by Wild Boars (Flipped Eye Publishing)
Travel Scholarships
Maame Blue
Ayisha Malik
Dylan Moore
Ben Judah
alice albinia

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