We are excited to announce that Julia Parry has won the 2022 RSL Christopher Bland Prize for The Shadowy Third: Love, Letters, and Elizabeth Bowen (Duckworth Books), as selected by this year’s judges David Baddiel (Chair), Caroline Criado Perez and Naga Munchetty. The annual Prize of £10,000 is awarded to a debut novelist or non-fiction writer first published aged 50 or over. 

‘As a fan of Elizabeth Bowen, who is a much overlooked mid-20th Century writer, my eye was drawn to The Shadowy Third by Julia Parry early on. It’s a book about marriage, infidelity, men and women, the complexity of love, and letters. It’s non-fiction, but is in its own way as thrilling and insightful on these subjects as one of Bowen’s great novels.’

– David Baddiel

‘Never having read any Elizabeth Bowen, I didn’t expect to particularly enjoy The Shadowy Third – but I absolutely loved it. Julia Parry has done an incredible job of pulling the letters she found in her uncle’s attic into a compelling narrative, with vivid characters I really cared about. As soon as I finished, I went out and bought myself my first Bowen novel and I can’t really think of any higher praise than that.’

– Caroline Criado Perez

‘I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that made me want to go out to buy and read the poetry of another writer. This did. I did. And I’m very pleased I read it all. A labour of love well worth telling.’

– Naga Munchetty

‘I am amazed and delighted to be this year’s recipient of the RSL Christopher Bland Prize. It is such a unique award; one that celebrates writing begun in the autumn of life. When I inherited the extraordinary correspondence between Elizabeth Bowen and my grandfather Humphry House, I knew it needed to find a wider audience. I felt that I had nothing to lose in writing that book myself. It is, as Sir Christopher Bland said, “never too late” to start. My creative journey has been immensely rewarding, both intellectually and emotionally. To be given this recognition for what began as a labour of love is overwhelming. I want to thank the judges and the Royal Society of Literature for this huge honour.’
– Julia Parry, Winner of the RSL Christopher Bland Prize 2022


Watch our announcement video here: 

Read the press release for more information.