The 2023 Encore Award winner was revealed as Daisy Hildyard for Emergency (Fitzcarraldo Editions) on Thursday 15 June.
This year the prize-winner was announced at a live event. Daisy Hildyard was unable to
attend but was informed and accepted the award saying:
‘An award for a second attempt is a kind-hearted award and I am happy and grateful to have been a part of it this year. The other authors on the shortlist are all writers whose work I respect, and I like that the award makes us into a cohort: we’ve written our different books about different things, but we’re together on our second novels at the same moment (even though I reckon I’m the oldest, which means they’re actually one step ahead of me). When we are very, very old, on our seventy-fifth novels, I hope we’ll still be seeing and reading each other.
I’m grateful to my agent David Godwin and to my publishers Fitzcarraldo, who made this book – I just wrote a Word doc – and they’ve cared for it so thoughtfully and generously, before and since its release.
The prize money will give me time at my desk, it makes a big and real difference. Speaking personally, it meant a lot to me that the judges described Emergency as a celebration of life, an experience of being in the thick of life – thank you for reading the novel and thinking about it like this. And it’s good to think of people feeling that, inside or outside the book.’
This year’s judges, Maura Dooley, Daljit Nagra and Nikesh Shukla commented:
‘Emergency is a work of great style and substance; contemplative, clever and seductive.
Lyrically unfolding its story slowly and delicately through the compelling voice of a narrator
brought to a standstill in lockdown, this work reflects on rural life at a point of great change.
In contemplating childhood, in her evocation of her schooldays, in the natural world seen
through the eyes of a child, Hildyard summons a world just pre-internet, a place in which the
edgelands of a rural community struggle as employment slips away.
In her finely-observed and precise descriptions of the environment Hildyard elides the easy
distinctions between the man-made and the natural world, asking the reader to look harder.
The reader is invited to consider what the destruction of this interrelated world might mean
for us all. This is a powerful pastoral novel written with a watchful, unsparing eye, both
praising and exposing the beauty, the ugliness, and the essential interconnectedness of life.’
Daisy Hildyard’s first novel, Hunters in the Snow, received the Somerset Maugham Award
and a ‘5 under 35’ honorarium at the USA National Book Awards. Her essay ‘The Second
Body’, a brilliantly lucid account of the dissolving boundaries between all life on earth, was
published in 2017, and her second novel Emergency was published in 2022, both by
Fitzcarraldo Editions. She lives with her family in North Yorkshire, where she was born.
For more details on the Award, visit the main page here.