Francesca Stavrakopoulou won the £2,000 (about $2,455) PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize, endowed by former PEN member Marjorie Hessell-Tiltman's bequest to celebrate the best nonfiction on any historical subject, for God: An Anatomy (published in the U.S. by Knopf). The judges said: "Exploring God from head to toe, God: An Anatomy is a revelatory and brilliant examination of the emergence of monotheism written with real verve and vitality."
Olivette Otele, chair of the judging panel, commented: "The breadth and depth of God: An Anatomy simply amazed us. This outstanding book challenges and enhances our perception of a deity, the Bible and even the representation of masculinity."
This year, judges also gave an honorable mention to Raphael Cormack for his book, Midnight in Cairo: The Female Stars of Egypt's Roaring '20s (published here by Norton), which the panel called "a beautiful gem that deserves a special honor. It sheds an important light on the role of entertainers and women in particular advancing rights in Cairo in the earliest part of the 20th century."
The longlist has been selected for the $35,000 Aspen Words Literary Prize, sponsored by the Aspen Words program of the Aspen Institute and honoring "a work of fiction that illuminates a vital contemporary issue." The 14 longlisted titles, which can be seen here, include seven fiction debuts and five short story collections. Finalists will be announced March 6 and the winner April 19.