Adam Nicolson wins The Pleasure of Reading Prize 2024

We are pleased to announce that Adam Nicolson has won The Pleasure of Reading Prize 2024.

The Pleasure of Reading Prize recognises an author, writing in English, who brings pleasure through their writing. The prize takes its name from a 2015 anthology by Give a Book’s Patron, Lady Antonia Fraser, published by Bloomsbury. The prize money of £10,000 is shared between the winning author and a charitable Give a Book project of their choice, which could be a prison, a school, or another project where reading for pleasure can make a real difference.

On receiving the Pleasure of Reading Prize, Nicolson said: “What a complete and life-enlarging delight it is to have been given this prize! A trinity of the very best of modern novelists has won it before and so, as a non-fiction writer, it feels like the greatest of honours to be joined to them.

Nothing could be better than to celebrate reading. If writing is a famously solitary act, then reading is the great connector. And for this prize to be aligned with and shared with the prison book projects of Give a Book does make it perfect: the giving of a book performs exactly the reason any book is written — to connect across distances, to make one mind and one person real to another.”

The judges commented: “Adam Nicolson has created a unique voice, a form of narrative non-fiction that includes elements of memoir but also of intellectual depth and knowledge, whilst always retaining an almost painterly attention to detail and to language. He is an emotional writer, but also someone who is able to deftly navigate the depths and the shallows, the sublime and the intimate, the scholarly and the familial – indeed navigation itself seems to me a theme running through his authorship. But this is a prize about the pleasure of reading – and the pleasure of reading Adam Nicolson is really in that combination of intellectual heft and the personal tone. You sense the presence of the author in the room as you read.”

The prize was awarded on 1 July 2024.