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Portico Prize for Literature 2015 Shortlist Announcement

Poetry tops the Portico Fiction shortlist

Jenny Uglow, Alan Garner, Rebecca Goss and Michael Symmons Roberts are amongst the writers nominated for the 2015 Portico Prize for Literature, the North’s leading literary award. Established by the Portico Library, Manchester, the Prize is biennially awarded to the highest quality books set wholly or mainly in the North of England and is supported by the Arts Council England and The Zochonis Charitable Trust. Currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Portico Prize offers £10,000 each for the winners of the fiction and non-fiction categories. Winners will be announced at a gala awards dinner at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel on 26th November.

To read the full press release please click the link below.

Val McDermid to host the Portico Prize Awards Dinner

The Portico Library has announced the call out for the 2015 Portico Prizes for fiction (including poetry) and non-fiction. Presentation of the prizes of £10,000 each to the authors of the winners of the fiction and non-fiction categories will be made at the Portico Prize Awards Dinner, to be held in Manchester city centre in November 2015. Val McDermid, one of the biggest names in crime writing and a past winner of the Portico Prize for Fiction, will host the evening.
The Portico Prizes are part of the Library’s series of literary prizes which celebrate the writing and poetry of the North of England and beyond. The prizes are supported by the Zochonis Charitable Trust, Arts Council England, and the Portico Library. Previous winners of the Portico Prize, which this year celebrates its thirtieth anniversary, include Anthony Burgess (Any Old Iron), Sarah Hall (The Beautiful Indifference), Jean Sprackland (Strands: A Year of Discoveries on the Beach), and Jenny Uglow (Elizabeth Gaskell, A Habit of Stories).
The 2015 Portico Prizes are open to books published between 1st August 2012 and 31st July 2015, that are of a good literary standard, of general interest, and set wholly or mainly in the Northern Counties of England – Cheshire, County Durham, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Humberside, Lancashire, Merseyside, Northumberland, the Peak District of Derbyshire, Tyne and Wear, and Yorkshire.
The Portico Library will announce the panel of judges early in April.
Lynne Allan, Chair of the Portico Library, said, “The Portico Library’s association with Northern writers dates back to the days of Elizabeth Gaskell, whose husband William was chair of the Portico for three decades. We are proud to host this celebration of literature in the North, and look forward to receiving entries that give voice to the diversity and strong regional identity of the North.”
Submissions for this year’s Portico Prizes close on the 31st July. The shortlists will be announced in September, and the winners revealed by Val McDermid in November.

Notes for editors:
1. Manchester’s Portico Library opened in 1806 as a Library and Newsroom and still occupies its original Grade II* listed building on Mosley Street – "the most elegant and retired street in town" according to Portico member and physicist, John Dalton, who developed modern atomic theory. Over the years the Portico has boasted other famous members, such as Peter Roget (of Thesaurus fame), the Reverend William Gaskell (husband of Elizabeth), Sir Robert Peel (twice Prime Minister), Tony Booth, Val McDermid, Guy Garvey, and many more.
2. The Portico Library Collection is mainly 19th century and contains a wide selection of travel books, biographies and history. Uncommonly for a 19th century library, there is also a fine selection of fiction, including a number of first editions. The Travel section is particularly strong, covering the voyages of Captain Cook, numerous Victorian women travellers, and Victorian continental exploration.
3. The Portico’s literary events are a regular feature of the Manchester Calendar. Liz Kessler’s Read Me Like a Book is being launched by Orion at the Portico in June.
4. The Portico’s website lists the Library’s opening times.
5. The Portico Prize Family consists of the Portico Prizes for Literature, the Portico Poetry Prizes and an award for young writers and readers. The Prize for Literature, first awarded in 1985, celebrates writing of the North of England. The Prize is supported by the Zochonis Charitable Trust, Arts Council England, and the Portico Library. The late Sir John Zochonis was a long-time member and supporter of the Library, and the Portico Prize. The Library is also working in partnership with local independent booksellers, the Manchester Literature Festival , local and regional cultural and educational organisations, as well as with other members of the Association of Independent Libraries
To contact the Portico
Please email or call 07792 275907.
If you are a bona-fide journalist and want to be added to the Portico media office e-mail list please email with ‘Portico Prize’ in the subject line, with details of your interests and for whom you write or broadcast.

Winners of the Portico Prize

2012 Sarah Hall The Beautiful Indifference; Jean Sprackland Strands: A Year of Discoveries on the Beach
2010 Sarah Hall How to Paint a Dead Man; Madeleine Bunting The Plot, a Biography of an English Acre
2008 Sallie Day The Palace of Strange Girls; Catherine Bailey Black Diamonds
2006 Andrew Biswell The Real Life of Anthony Burgess; Val McDermidThe Grave Tattoo
2004 Terry Wyke Public Sculptures of Greater Manchester
2002 Shelley Rohde The Lowry Lexicon: An A-Z of L S Lowry
2000 John Parkinson-Bailey Manchester: An Architectural History
1997 Paul Wilson Do White Whales Sing at the Edge of the World?
1995 Richard Francis Taking Apart the Poco Poco
1993 Jenny Uglow Elizabeth Gaskell: A Habit of Stories
1991Alan Hankinson’s Coleridge Walks the Fells
1990 Hugh Owen The Lowther Family
1989 Anthony BurgessAny Old Iron
1988 John Stalker Stalker; Margaret Simey Democracy Rediscovered
1987 Bill Naughton On the Pig's Back
1986 Don Howarth Figures in a Bygone Landscape
1985 Gary Messinger Manchester in the Victorian Age

text: The Zochonis Charitable Trust & Arts Council England