Notting Hill Editions – William Max Nelson Is the Winner of the 2017 Essay Prize

Nelson, William - Headshot by Ken Jones.jpg

The 2017 Notting Hill Editions Essay Prize drew to an emotional close following the sad death of founder Tom Kremer just days before the announcement. The ceremony began with daughter Kim who​ thanked her father for the wonderful legacy that is the Notting Hill Editions Essay Prize. Tom died peacefully in his sleep on June 24th, at the age of eighty-seven.

“His energy, charisma, and determination to succeed inspired all of us at Notting Hill Editions, and he will be sorely missed.” Trophies and cash prizes were awarded to the final six at the Notting Hill Editions event which was held at The University Women’s Club in Mayfair.

Judges Rosalind Porter (chair) and Travis Elborough hosted the event and announced which of the thirteen shortlisted authors had been chosen for publication by fellow judges Kirsty Gunn, Sameer Rahim and Daniel Mendelsohn.

The finalists were called up to talk about their entries and the art of the essay as a literary form, discussing the role essays play today in our literary, philosophical and political cultures.

After naming the five runners-up and awarding them with £1,000 each and a trophy, the judges were delighted to announce William Max Nelson as this year’s winner for his essay Five Ways of Being a Painting and to present him with the £20,000 first prize.

Porter describes Nelson’s essay in her foreword to the book: “It is a curious mix of the philosophical and the personal, the argumentative and the ruminative, with each of its many modes mutually illuminating the others’.

‘It feels larger than itself’, argued one of the judges. ‘It is idiosyncratic in a persuasive way,’ remarked another. The deft blending together of the strands of Europe and China, past and present, hiding and seeing; the delicate but forceful episodic style; the intellectual reach – this, we concluded, was a real essay.”

All of the finalists’ essays for the 2017 Notting Hill Editions Prize are highly literary and cover subjects as diverse as art and architecture, Soviet history and the culture of supermarkets versus​ ​farmers markets.

The following essays didn’t make the final selection but are deserving of a special mention. All demonstrated the qualities of literary merit and strong ideas. Congratulations to the following essayists​:

Faithful Traitors – Alice Ahearn

If This Must be the Place – Rachel Andrews

On Being Passionately Moderate – Will Brett

African American Arts on the Color Line – Manthia Diawara

Love and Fear: Art in our Time – Ben Eastham

Medical Notes – Eliza Minot

Area Woman, or Netflix is the New Crack – Maureen Stanton


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