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Thursday, 26 February 2009

The inaugural "interdisciplinary and 'inter-formal'" Warwick prize has been awarded to Naomi Klein for The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007). The 50,000 pound prize was awarded to Klein amid a field of books that are not all non-fiction.

There is no other prize of its kind.

The theme of the inaugural prize was 'complexity'. The "extremely diverse" shortlist included a "study of the relationship between women and mental illness", a history of 20th-century music, an investigation into the murder of a bishop, Stuart A Kauffman's Reinventing the Sacred, and a novel, Enrique Vila-Matas's novel Montano's Malady. The longlist included fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Chair of judges China MiƩville remarked on common themes, despite the variety of formats involved: "It was very interesting to see how so many writers on the shortlist were thinking about political corruption and corporate greed."

In other prize news, the Australia-Asia Literary Prize has been suspended. The prize is launched by the Western Australia Labour government that lost office last year.

Arts Minister John Day said the total prize money, format and timing of the Australia-Asia Literary Prize ... was under review and expected to be finalised by the middle of this year.

David Malouf won the inaugural prize last year and "pending the review recommendations" it would be offered in 2010. There is speculation the government, which is now Liberal, will not offer the prize again, seeking budget savings.

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