WH Smith Literary Award

The WH Smith Literary Award was an award founded in 1959 by British high street retailer W H Smith. Its founding aim was stated to be to "encourage and bring international esteem to authors of the British Commonwealth"; originally open to all residents of the UK, the Commonwealth and the Republic of Ireland, it latterly admitted foreign works in translation and works by US authors. The final three winners were Americans (Philip Roth, Donna Tartt and Richard Powers), and 2005 was the award's final year.[1]

The "W H Smith Illustration Award" ran from 1987 to 1994.

The "W H Smith Mind-Boggling Book Award" for children's literature ran from 1993 to 1996.

W H Smith currently sponsors the National Book Awards Children's Book of the Year (the "British Children's Book Award" through 2009).


1959 Patrick White, Voss
1960 Laurie Lee, Cider With Rosie
1961 Nadine Gordimer, Friday's Footprint
1962 J. R. Ackerley, We Think the World of You
1963 Gabriel Fielding, The Birthday King
1964 Ernst H. Gombrich, Meditations on a Hobby-Horse
1965 Leonard Woolf, Beginning Again
1966 R. C. Hutchinson, A Child Possessed
1967 Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
1968 V. S. Naipaul, The Mimic Men
1969 Robert Gittings, John Keats
1970 John Fowles, The French Lieutenant's Woman
1971 Nan Fairbrother, New Lives, New Landscapes
1972 Kathleen Raine, The Lost Country
1973 Brian Moore, Catholics
1974 Anthony Powell, Temporary Kings
1975 Jon Stallworthy, Wilfred Owen
1976 Seamus Heaney, North
1977 Ronald Lewin, Slim: The Standardbearer
1978 Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts
1979 Mark Girouard, Life in the English Country House
1980 Thom Gunn, Selected Poems 1950-1975
1981 Isabel Colegate, The Shooting Party
1982 George Clare, Last Waltz in Vienna
1983 A. N. Wilson, Wise Virgin
1984 Philip Larkin, Required Writing
1985 David Hughes, The Pork Butcher
1986 Doris Lessing, The Good Terrorist
1987 Elizabeth Jennings, Collected Poems 1953-1985
1988 Robert Hughes, The Fatal Shore
1989 Christopher Hill, A Turbulent, Seditious and Factious People: John Bunyan and His Church
1990 V. S. Pritchett, A Careless Widow and Other Stories
1991 Derek Walcott, Omeros
1992 Thomas Pakenham, The Scramble for Africa
1993 Michèle Roberts, Daughters of the House
1994 Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
1995 Alice Munro, Open Secrets
1996 Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory
1997 Orlando Figes, A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution - 1891-1924
1998 Ted Hughes, Tales From Ovid
1999 Beryl Bainbridge, Master Georgie
2000 Melvyn Bragg, The Soldier's Return
2001 Philip Roth, The Human Stain
2002 Ian McEwan, Atonement
2003 Donna Tartt, The Little Friend
2004 Richard Powers, The Time of Our Singing
2005 Philip Roth, The Plot Against America

WH Smith Mind-Boggling Book Award

For a few years, W H Smith also offered a children's book award. The judges were children between nine and twelve, and the intention was to promote books which were "accessible to children in content and price, as well as offering a gripping read." [2]

The winners were:

1993 Philip Ridley, Krindlekrax
1994 Malorie Blackman, Hacker
1995 Maggie Prince, Memoirs of a Dangerous Alien
1996 Sharon Creech, Walk Two Moons


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