Moses McKenzie wins prestigious Hawthornden Prize for Literature

Hot on the heels of Tuesday’s Booker Prize longlisting for Sian Hughes’ PEARL comes the announcement that Moses McKenzie is to be awarded the 2023 Hawthornden Prize for Literature for his debut novel AN OLIVE GROVE IN ENDS.

Caroline Moore, author, literary critic and one of the five judges of this year’s prize, writes:

An Olive Grove in Ends is a dazzling debut, richly textured, gritty and profound. Moses McKenzie offes a thrillingly distinctive new voice, both street-wise and literary; lilting Jamaican patois mixed with Bristol slang is shot through with the language of the Bible and of the Koran. Set in the world of the disenfranchised and of drug-dealers, the novel is a moving tale of earthly love and spiritual redemption.’

The Hawthornden Prize, one of the two oldest literary prizes in the UK, is awarded to a British, Irish or British-based author for a work of “imaginative literature”, including poetry, novels, history, biography and creative non-fiction.

Among previous winners of the prize are Sean O’Casey, Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, Ted Hughes, V S Naipaul, Bruce Chatwin, Alan Bennett, Hilary Mantel, Ali Smith, Colm Toibin.

Illustrious company. Moses, we salute you.