Portico Prize for Sarah Hall

Sarah Hall has won the Portico Prize for her novel How to Paint a Dead Man. Awarded biennially, The Portico Prize was set up by The Portico Library in Manchester to celebrate writers in the North West of England. Since 2008, the prize has included writers in the whole of the North and two separate prizes of £4,000 have been awarded, for fiction and non-fiction respectively.

How to Paint A Dead Man is Sarah Hall’s fourth novel, published in 2009 and long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. She was short-listed for the 2008 Portico Prize for her third novel The Carhullan Army and in good company; this year’s Booker prize-winner, Howard Jacobson, was on the same short-list for his Kalooki Nights, a book set in 1950s North Manchester where Jacobson grew up.

How to Paint a Dead Man is a technically ambitious novel concerned with the relationship between art and life, loss, the importance of place and history. It has already drawn much praise from reviewers and readers. The lives of four individuals—a dying painter, a blind girl, a landscape artist, and an art curator—intertwine across nearly five decades in a luminous and searching novel of extraordinary power.

With How to Paint a Dead Man, Sarah Hall, “one of the most significant and exciting of Britain’s young novelists” (The Guardian), delivers “a maddeningly enticing read . . . an amazing feat of literary engineering” (The Independent on Sunday).

Sarah is currently working on a fifth novel, and a collection of short stories, The Beautiful Indifference, will be published by Faber & Faber in November 2011. One of these stories, Butcher’s Perfume, was recently shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award – download the podcast here.

See also: Sarah Hall’s website and her appearance on BBC Radio 4′s Bookclub with James Naughtie.

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