John Llewellyn Rhys Prize

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John Llewellyn Rhys Prize
Awarded forLiterature
Date1942 by Jane Oliver
CountryUnited Kingdom
Presented by • The Mail on Sunday (1987–2002)
 • Booktrust (2003–2010)

The John Llewellyn Rhys Prize was a literary prize awarded annually for the best work of literature (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama) by an author from the Commonwealth aged 35 or under, written in English and published in the United Kingdom.[1] Established in 1942, it was one of the oldest literary awards in the UK.[2]

Since 2011, the award has been suspended by funding problems. The last award was in 2010.[2]


The prize was initiated in 1942 by Jane Oliver in memory of her husband, John Llewellyn Rhys, a young author who was killed on 5 August 1940 while serving as a bomber pilot in the Royal Air Force.

From 1987 to 2003, the prize was funded by the Mail on Sunday. The newspaper withdrew in 2003, after the 2002 prize was awarded to Mary Laven. Subsequently, the prize was sponsored by Booktrust, an independent educational charity, but in June 2011 the award was suspended due to funding problems.[2] Booktrust said that it "strongly" intended to bring the award "back with a bang as soon as possible" as it looked for outside funding sources.[2]

In 2010, the winner received £5,000, while the runners-up each received £500.[2]

Winners (1942–1999)[edit]

Source: 1942–2003[3]

Year Author Title ISBN (or OCLC)
1942 Michael Richey Sunk by a Mine
1943 Morwenna Donnelly Beauty for Ashes OCLC 10175035
1944 Alun Lewis The Last Inspection OCLC 1648392
1945 James Aldridge The Sea Eagle OCLC 1115675
1946 Oriel Malet My Bird Sings OCLC 1550666
1947 Anne-Marie Walters Moondrop to Gascony OCLC 458854780
1948 Richard Mason The Wind Cannot Read OCLC 2188096
1949 Emma Smith Maidens' Trip OCLC 771823005
1950 Kenneth Allsop Adventure Lit Their Star OCLC 77347740
1951 Elizabeth Jane Howard The Beautiful Visit OCLC 1637250
1952 No award
1953 Rachel Trickett The Return Home OCLC 21354135
1954 Tom Stacey The Hostile Sun OCLC 2451930
1955 John Wiles The Moon to Play With OCLC 1508671
1956 John Hearne Voices Under the Window OCLC 2175560
1957 Ruskin Bond The Room on the Roof OCLC 1579534
1958 V. S. Naipaul The Mystic Masseur OCLC 47838372
1959 Dan Jacobson A Long Way from London OCLC 1161266
1960 David Caute At Fever Pitch OCLC 753130422
1961 David Storey Flight into Camden OCLC 1816514
1962 Robert Rhodes James
Edward Lucie-Smith
An Introduction to the House of Commons
A Tropical Childhood and Other Poems
OCLC 1825470/ 2469981
1963 Peter Marshall Two Lives OCLC 1301629
1964 Nell Dunn Up the Junction OCLC 1675517
1965 Julian Mitchell The White Father OCLC 1246449
1966 Margaret Drabble The Millstone OCLC 1355165
1967 Anthony Masters The Seahorse OCLC 1018374
1968 Angela Carter The Magic Toyshop ISBN 978-0-860-68190-8
1969 Melvyn Bragg Without a City Wall ISBN 978-0-340-43102-3
1970 Angus Calder The People's War ISBN 978-0-712-65284-1
1971 Shiva Naipaul Fireflies ISBN 978-0-140-03150-8
1972 Susan Hill The Albatross ISBN 978-0-140-03649-7
1973 Peter Smalley A Warm Gun ISBN 978-0-233-96172-9
1974 Hugh Fleetwood The Girl Who Passed for Normal ISBN 978-0-812-87034-3
1975 David Hare
Tim Jeal
Cushing's Crusade
ISBN 978-0-571-04980-6/ 978-0-434-37209-6
1976 no award
1977 Richard Cork Vorticism & Abstract Art in the First Machine Age ISBN 978-0-900-40624-9
1978 A. N. Wilson The Sweets of Pimlico ISBN 978-0-140-06697-5
1979 Peter Boardman The Shining Mountain ISBN 978-0-099-20920-1
1980 Desmond Hogan The Diamonds at the Bottom of the Sea ISBN 978-0-241-10123-0
1981 A. N. Wilson The Laird of Abbotsford ISBN 978-0-192-11756-4
1982 William Boyd An Ice-Cream War ISBN 978-0-241-95356-3
1983 Lisa St Aubin de Terán The Slow Train to Milan ISBN 978-0-140-06954-9
1984 Andrew Motion Dangerous Play ISBN 978-0-140-07352-2
1985 John Milne Out of the Blue ISBN 978-0-241-11489-6
1986 Tim Parks Loving Roger ISBN 978-0-802-10016-0
1987 Jeanette Winterson The Passion ISBN 978-0-099-73441-3
1988 Matthew Yorke The March Fence ISBN 978-0-140-11636-6
1989 Claire Harman Sylvia Townsend Warner ISBN 978-0-701-12938-5
1990 Ray Monk Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius ISBN 978-0-099-88370-8
1991 A. L. Kennedy Night Geometry and the Garscadden Trains ISBN 978-0-099-45006-1
1992 Matthew Kneale Sweet Thames ISBN 978-0-140-29663-1
1993 Jason Goodwin On Foot to the Golden Horn: A Walk to Istanbul ISBN 978-0-701-13668-0
1994 Jonathan Coe What a Carve Up! ISBN 978-0-141-03329-7
1995 Melanie McGrath Motel Nirvana ISBN 978-0-006-54715-0
1996 Nicola Barker Heading Inland ISBN 978-0-007-43571-5
1997 Phil Whitaker Eclipse of the Sun ISBN 978-0-753-80948-8
1998 Peter Ho Davies The Ugliest House in the World ISBN 978-0-395-78629-1
1999 David Mitchell Ghostwritten ISBN 978-0-340-73974-7

Winners and short lists (since 2000)[edit]

Source: 2007–2010[1]

Year Author Title ISBN) Short list
2000 Edward Platt Leadville Julia Leigh, The Hunter
Roddy Lumsden, The Book of Love
Ben Rice, Pobby and Dingan
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
Cole Moreton, Hungry for Home Leaving the Blaskets: A Journey from the Edge of Ireland
2001 Susanna Jones The Earthquake Bird Esther Morgan, Beyond Calling Distance
2002 Mary Laven* Virgins of Venice* Sonya Hartnett, Thursday's Child
Chloe Hooper,
A Child's Book of True Crime
Mary Laven, Virgins of Venice
Kamila Shamsie, Kartography[4]
2003 Charlotte Mendelson Daughters of Jerusalem
2004 Jonathan Trigell Boy A Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Purple Hibiscus
Rory Stewart, The Places in Between
Neil Bennun, The Broken String: The Last Words of an Extinct People
Colin McAdam, Some Great Thing
Anthony Cartwright, The Afterglow
2005 Uzodinma Iweala Beasts of No Nation Rana Dasgupta, Tokyo Cancelled
Peter Hobbs, The Short Day Dying
Sinéad Morrissey, The State of the Prisons
Rebecca Ray, Newfoundland
Rachel Zadok, Gem Squash Tokoloshe
2006/7 Sarah Hall The Carhullan Army Ceridwen Dovey, Blood Kin
Joanna Kavenna, Inglorious
Robert Macfarlane, The Wild Places
Gwendoline Riley, Joshua Spassky
Rory Stewart, Occupational Hazards
2008 Henry Hitchings The Secret Life of Words Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger
Adam Foulds, The Broken Word
James Palmer, The Bloody White Baron
Ross Raisin, God's Own Country
Brian Schofield, Selling Your Father's Bones
2009 Evie Wyld After the Fire, A Still Small Voice Aravind Adiga, Between the Assassinations
Emma Jones, The Striped World
James Maskalyk, Six Months in Sudan
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Thing Around Your Neck
Tristram Stuart, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal
2010 Amy Sackville The Still Point[5] Kei Miller, A Light Song of Light
Nadifa Mohamed, Black Mamba Boy
Daniel Swift, Bomber County
Susan Fletcher, Corrag
Cordelia Fine, Delusions of Gender

*Note: The 2002 prize was initially awarded to Hari Kunzru for his book The Impressionist on 20 November 2003, but the author decided to decline the award due to its sponsorship by The Mail on Sunday.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b John Llewellyn Rhys Prize "John Llewellyn Rhys Prize". Booktrust. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e Alison Flood. "John Llewellyn Rhys prize 'suspended'", The Guardian, 29 June 2011
  3. ^ "The Mail on Sunday/John Llewllyn Rhys Prize". Archived from the original on 4 December 2005. Retrieved 9 July 2009.
  4. ^ "Virgins of Venice wins Kunzru's rejected prize". The Guardian. 11 December 2003. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  5. ^ Staff writer (24 November 2010). "Debut Writer Amy Sackville Wins Literary Award". BBC News. Retrieved 29 January 2011.

External links[edit]