Writer’s Award 2022 goes to Philip Clark and Javier Montes

Journalist Philip Clark and novelist and essayist Javier Montes have been named as the 2022 winners of the Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer’s Award, in a reception at the British Library last night.

Clark and Montes are each awarded £20,000 and a year’s writing residency at the British Library to develop their forthcoming books using the Library’s Americas collections, as well as the opportunity to showcase their finished work at Hay Festival events in the UK and Latin America.

They were selected from a six-strong shortlist of writers hailing from Europe, North and South America. Including both fiction and non-fiction, the 2022 shortlist covered a diverse array of subjects relating to the Americas including queer histories, sound, sense of place, the Transatlantic slave trade and Indigenous Ecuadorian war practices. 

Submissions for the 2023 Writer’s Award will open next summer. For more information, visit www.bl.uk/writers-award.

About the winners

Philip Clark is a music journalist and author who writes about classical music, modern composition, jazz, free improvisation, rock, pop and folk music. Philip wins the 2022 Writer’s Award for his forthcoming book Sound and The City: a history of the sound of New York City and an investigation into what makes New York sound like New York. The project will use the British Library’s collections relating to the Harlem Renaissance, United States immigration, African American newspapers and the civil rights movement, particularly material relating to the music of Black Power.

Sound and The City will be published in English by White Rabbit Books.

The judges said: “Philip Clark’s proposal - a piecing together of “the particles of New York’s sonic DNA” - promises to be an exhilarating journey through the great city’s landscape of sound and music, as well as its wider culture, history and architecture.”

Javier Montes is a novelist and essayist. He currently lives in Madrid, and has lived and worked for long periods in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

Javier wins the 2022 Writer’s Award for Trópico de Londres (Tropic of London), the final instalment in a trilogy preceded by Varados en Río (Stranded in Rio) and Luz del Fuego. A hybrid of the detective novel, literary essay and the fictionalisation of historical figures, this final instalment focuses on the role of London as a destination for many Latin American artists, writers and intellectual exiles during the second half of the 20th century. His research will draw from the Library’s Latin American and Caribbean collections as well as oral histories, newspaper and music archives to weave together the socio-historical and political context of this story.

Trópico de Londres will be published in Spanish by Anagrama.

The judges said: Tropic of London will tell the story of political emigres from Central South America and Brazil in London in the 1960s. We were drawn to a project which promises to uncover a little-known history of a generation who helped shape the cultural and political life of the UK.”