Writer’s Award 2023 goes to Ayanna Lloyd Banwo and Jarred McGinnis

Authors Ayanna Lloyd Banwo and Jarred McGinnis have been named as the 2023 winners of the Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer’s Award, in a reception at the British Library last night (Wednesday 23 November).

Lloyd Banwo and McGinnis are each awarded £20,000 and up to 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 2023 shortlist covered a diverse array of subjects relating to the Americas including migration, environmental breakdown, masculinity, urbanisation, and literary movements.

Submissions for the 2024 Writer’s Award will open next summer. For more information, visit bl.uk/writers-award.

About the winners

Ayanna Lloyd Banwo is a writer from Trinidad & Tobago currently living in London. Her debut novel When We Were Birds was one of the Observer’s Best Debuts of 2022.

Lloyd Banwo wins the 2023 Writer’s Award for Dark Eye Place which tells the story of a family house, passed down to the daughter of each generation. Set in post-emancipation Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, the novel explores women’s changing lives, family relationships, inheritance and ideas of belonging in the context of great social upheaval.

The judges said:  “We were drawn to the idea of using a crumbling house in Trinidad, passed down through the women of the family as a way to explore patriarchal inheritance laws, women’s lives, migration, and urbanisation against a backdrop of the great plantation estates and elite town houses. Ayanna Lloyd Banwo’s second novel promises to build on a new talent.”

Jarred McGinnis is an American-British author, currently living between London and Marseille, France. His debut novel The Coward was selected for BBC 2’s Between the Covers, BBC Radio 2’s Book Club and listed for the Barbellion Prize.

McGinnis wins the 2023 Writer’s Award for The Mountain Weight, which mines his family’s history, from the American Civil War to the present day, to examine themes of masculinity, family and migration. This intimate memoir will consider the myths we create about family and ourselves to tell the story of who we are or want to be.

The judges said: “McGinnis’ The Mountain Weight uses a biographical lens to explore themes of masculinity and generational violence in the United States. We were impressed by the emotional power of McGuiness’ proposal and the proposed use of archival material to tell an intimate story and broad social history.”

Find out more about the Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer's Award here.