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Tuesday, 2 March, 1999, 17:38 GMT
Bainbridge wins book award
Bainbridge: Wins 10,000 for her book Master Georgie
Novelist Beryl Bainbridge has won the WH Smith literary prize for her book Master Georgie.

The 64-year-old author beat Julian Barnes and Alan Bennett with her acclaimed novel set in the Crimean War. The prize comes four months after her work missed out on the Booker Prize.

Liverpool-born Ms Bainbridge who is the author of 16 novels takes home 10,000 award money.

'Haunting, poetic and funny'

Alan Bennett
Alan Bennett: Nominated for his short story The Clothes They Stood Up In
The chairman of the panel of judges Professor John Carey described the winning book as a masterpiece.

"Beryl Bainbridge's novel about the Crimean War is as unlike the conventional war books as it is possible to be.

"Haunting, poetic, both funny and nightmarish, it catches the madness of war, and the strangeness of other people's lives," he said.

Bainbridge has won several literary awards in the past including the Whitbread for Every Man For Himself and Injury Time and the Guardian Fiction Prize for The Dressmaker.

Last year she was a popular choice to take the Booker - for which she had been shortlisted five times - but lost out to Ian McEwan's Amsterdam.

Arts Minister Alan Howarth presented her with the prize at a lunch in Westminster, London.

'Deserving winner'

julian barnes
Julian Barnes: Shortlisted for England, England
Jeremy Hardie, chairman of WH Smith, said: "Beryl Bainbridge has won this award in the face of fierce competition. The shortlist was one of the strongest I can remember but Master Georgie is an exceptional book and a deserving winner."

The other books on the shortlist were: Alan Bennett's The Clothes They Stood Up In; England, England by Julian Barnes; Stalingrad by Anthony Beevor; Armadillo by William Boyd; and The Unknown Matisse by Hilary Spurling.

Now in its 41st year, the WH Smith award is open to any non-fiction or fiction title written in English and published in the UK.

See also:

27 Oct 98 | Entertainment
Booker battle gets under way
21 Jan 99 | Entertainment
Geri's ginger pal steals arts awards
28 Jan 99 | Entertainment
Bennett's short story first
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