Historian Philip Mansel wins 2012 London Library Life in Literature Award sponsored by Heywood Hill

The 2012 London Library Life in Literature Award, sponsored by Mayfair bookshop Heywood Hill, has been awarded to Philip Mansel in recognition of the sustained quality of both his writing and scholarship throughout a distinguished career.

Launched in 2011 to revive the spirit of the former Heywood Hill Literary Prize, The London Library Life in Literature Award recognises those who have made an exceptional contribution to literary life and the enjoyment of books. Awardees may be active as writers, editors, agents, publishers or other champions of literature, reading and writing, and this year receive £10,000 from Heywood Hill.

A panel of five judges, who shall remain anonymous, met in secret at Pratt’s Club to select this year’s winner. As in future years, the judge’s deliberations had a theme. It is particularly fitting that in 2012, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Year, the theme was monarchy and royal biography. After the winner was selected, and approved by Sir Tom Stoppard and the Duke of Devonshire, Philip Mansel received a telephone call from Sir Tom.

The winner, Philip Mansel, is a writer known for his profound understanding of court life, albeit in France. Mansel was presented with his Award by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall at a dinner on Tuesday 1 May 2012 hosted by London Library President Sir Tom Stoppard in the Reading Room of The London Library.

Sir Tom Stoppard, President of The London Library, said ‘We are honoured and delighted to have The Duchess of Cornwall, herself a passionate advocate for literature and literacy, here to present this Award for exemplary writing, not least to someone who has written so well about the subject of lives of a number of monarchs. Philip Mansel's rich, varied work bears the fruit of his scholarly approach and is a wonderfully engaging contribution to this important historical field.’

Nicky Dunne, Chairman of Heywood Hill, said ‘Philip Mansel is a writer’s writer who has dedicated his literary life to excellence. He is a worthy winner of this wonderful award. Heywood Hill exists to introduce readers and collectors to books of quality. We have no doubt that as an author Philip’s mix of scholarship and readability mean that his always fascinating books will stand the test of time.’

Philip Mansel, on being presented with his Award, said ‘I could never have written my books without The London Library's wonderful holdings on Europe and the Middle East. It is the best lending library in Europe, with every diary or memoir on Paris and the French court, and every travel book about Constantinople and the Levant, for which you could wish. I am delighted and honoured to receive this award and I hope that The London library and Heywood Hill continue to attract ever more readers, and readers as international as London itself.’

Note: A shorter version of this press release from the London library appeared in the Country Life magazine, May 2012 issue.
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