Laurence Blair wins the RSL's Giles St Aubyn Awards

Laurence Blair won the second RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards for first commissioned works of Non-Fiction. This year’s Awards were judged by Iain Sinclair (Chair), Laura Bates, Aida Edemariam and Fiona St Aubyn.

Laurence Blair won a prize of £10,000 for LOST COUNTRIES OF SOUTH AMERICA: Travels in a Continent’s Past and Present (The Bodley Head, 2020). The book will address one of South America’s central issues – how to marry its past with its future – in order to shed light on themes including identity, nation and truth. The book will hold up a mirror to a range of people and places, giving a colourful picture of how South America’s past is dictating its future and exploring the ever-shifting ideas of belonging and borders.

Iain Sinclair says this ‘is an ambitious and far-reaching project that successfully finds a way of integrating research into pre-Columbian remains with the contemporary experience of crossing borders as a sharp-eyed, backpacking witness.’

Laurence Blair is a journalist and writer. He studied colonial Latin American history at university, and since 2014 has reported from across the region for the BBC, The Economist, and The Guardian, covering subjects including narco trafficking, guerrilla groups and environmental crises. Laurence says ‘I’m truly elated that the RSL will help me do justice to the cutting-edge research and pressing contemporary issues the book surveys'.

The full press release is available here.