Yale author Peter Forbes has been awarded the prestigious Warwick Prize for Writing for his book Dazzled and Deceived: Mimicry and Camouflage.
The results were announced on at a ceremony last night (22 March) by by the Chair of the Judging Panel and renowned author Michael Rosen.
The £50,000 biennial prize, which was launched in 2009, is an innovative literary award that crosses all disciplines and nationalities, and is open to all kinds of writing. The theme of this year’s prize was ‘colour’ which was interpreted in different ways by a diverse selection of shortlisted books on a variety of topics, including South Africa, the civil war in Sierra Leone, contemporary Afghanistan and the Caribbean’s complex colonial legacy.
Pulling together many different cultural strands Dazzled and Deceived tells the unique and fascinating story of mimicry and camouflage, linking this natural phenomenon to art, literature, military tactics and medical cures across the twentieth century, as well as charting its intricate involvement with the dispute between evolution and creationism.
“In an over-specialized world, the multi-disciplinary Warwick Prize is an oasis of genre-busting. With its themes, stressing content as well as writing, it seemed a brilliant idea to me when launched. But I couldn’t imagine, when I was writing Dazzled and Deceived, with its flaunted and concealing colours in nature, art and warfare, that some kind of convergence of the twain would see its theme chime with that of the Prize in its second outing. Now that the book has won, it feels like more than a Prize: to me it feels like a vindication of a life spent bouncing science off art and vice versa. The fact that the Prize comes from an academic institution that has always championed imaginative writing and that the book was chosen by an exceptionally creative group of judges makes it all the more precious.”
The judging panel was chaired by the broadcaster, children’s novelist, poet and author of 140 books, Michael Rosen. He explained:
“Dazzled and Deceived, Mimicry and Camouflage was singled out for a number of reasons. It’s a book about scientific concepts; it’s a book about art and it’s actually an exciting read because Forbes does what all good storytellers do – he reveals and conceals in equal measure.”
Dazzled and Deceived: Mimicry and Camouflage is available here from Yale University Press. Keep an eye out for an exclusive article written by Peter Forbes for this blog, which will be published here tomorrow.
Watch this video of Peter Forbes collecting the award (video courtesy of Warwick University)