One of the British literary world's most prestigious prizes, the David Cohen Prize for Literature, was awarded for 2005 this week. The prize is worth £52,500, of which £40,000 is contributed by the John S. Cohen Foundation and goes to the winning author, and £12,500 is contributed by Arts Council England to be given to an individual or organisation chosen by the winner. This second award, formerly known as the Clarissa Luard Award, recognises initiatives that encourage reading or writing among young people.
This year's award - the Prize is awarded biennially - is the first to include writers from Ireland as well as Great Britain. The prize recognises the lifetime achievements of living writers. The judging panel for the 2005 Prize consisted of Andrew Motion (Chair), Maggie Gee, Doris Lessing, Caroline Gasgoigne, Martyn Goff, Jennifer Johnston, Antony Beevor. The award went to biographer Michael Holroyd, who chose to donate the £12,500 to a project which encourages young people to read.