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Last Updated: Monday, 6 February 2006, 19:37 GMT
Smith's On Beauty wins book award
Zadie Smith
On Beauty is Smith's third book
Author Zadie Smith has won the 2006 Commonwealth Writers' regional award for best book.

Smith - whose book On Beauty was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize - took the 1,000 prize for the Eurasia region.

The best first book award went to Donna Daley-Clarke, for Lazy Eye.

Both winners will enter the final stage of the prize - the international award for outstanding fiction - to be announced on 14 March.

British culture

The annual Commonwealth Writers' Prize rewards the best in fiction written in English by new and established writers.

A prize of 10,000 will be awarded to the author of the overall best book, picked from the five regional finalists - Eurasia; Africa; Caribbean and Canada; and South East Asia and the South Pacific.

Professor Angela Smith, who chaired the Eurasia judging panel, said: "A central aspect of the reading that strikes me is the way in which young writers who were born in Britain of immigrant parents are rewriting Britishness.

"Books in both categories often take familiar aspects of British culture as the norm.

Comedy and tragedy

"Many of them deal with the experience of children who are not, initially at least, preoccupied by race, and when they become aware of it they respond differently from their parents' generation.

"More generally, the best of the books in both categories are on the cusp of comedy and tragedy."

The judges said Smith's On Beauty was "written at such a high level of intelligence and style that it gleams".

Smith's first novel White Teeth won the overall best first book award in 2001.

Daley-Clarke's Lazy Eye was described as "inventive, playful and wrenching" by the judges.


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