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Prizes 'r' us

October may be the season of mists for some but for us here at Four Colman Getty, it is also definitely the season of awards. Awards for fiction; non-fiction; instinct; women; parking; there’s even an award for mavericks…  

The fact that there are so many is a testament to the fact that prizes matter – to the people who win them and to the people who judge and award them. And to the media too.   

First off the blocks was our biggest event of the year – the awards ceremony for the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. There can be few who don’t know that Jamaican author Marlon James was this year’s winner with his stunning A Brief History of Seven Killings. The 44-year-old, now resident in Minneapolis, is the first Jamaican author to win the prize in its 47-year history.

Marlon’s tiny independent publisher, Oneworld, immediately ordered a print run of 100,000 copies and, so much in demand was he from the media, that by the afternoon of the following day he had totally lost his voice. 

We were privileged once again to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cornwall to the dinner at the Guildhall where she met all six shortlisted writers and presented them with their designer bound books, before later awarding Marlon with his trophy.

The following week saw the 2015 Women of the Year lunch, the 6oth in its history. It’s a marvellous event – more than 400 women who have all achieved something of note in the previous year coming together to celebrate each other’s achievements. My favourite moment was when Lorraine was asked which woman she admires most in the world - she instantly plumped for her mum!   

I mentioned mavericks – that’s the award I chair for the Groucho club which, as ‘the antidote to other awards’, pinpoints the most exciting arts ‘maverick’ of 2015; someone in the arts who has within the last twelve months broken the mould. You can read more about our shortlist here.  

The winner who will be announced at The Groucho Club on Wednesday wins £10,000, a lifetime membership of The Groucho Club, and a bronze sculpture by artist, Gavin Turk. Not bad for breaking the rules. 

The winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction will also be announced this week. Pulitzer prize-winning historian and journalist, Anne Applebaum, is the 2015 chair and she said of the shortlist meeting that ‘We didn't quite come to blows, but the shortlist meeting was truly contentious; it's hard to imagine how five people sitting in a room on a weekday morning could have disagreed more strongly.’ That doesn’t bode well for the next stage… 

Watch out too for the announcement of the winner of The Warwick Prize for Writing. The prize, which is run by the University of Warwick, is a uniquely international and cross-disciplinary award, open to any genre or form of writing. The theme for this year’s prize is ‘Instinct’. Read more about the shortlist here.

The month of awards drew to a close with Tuesday’s announcement of the PATROL Annual Report Awards

Parking may sound like an unlikely area of interest for us but we’ve worked with Caroline Shephard, the Chief Adjudicator of the Parking Penalty Tribunal and her team for a number of years. It’s a topic that everyone has an opinion on and a tale of woe about. Like the railway network. 

London is separate but for the rest of England and Wales, PATROL (Parking and Traffic Regulations Outside London) represents over 300 Local Authorities who undertake civil enforcement of parking, bus lanes and so on. The launch of this year’s awards in the House of Commons was also the occasion for the launch of a new Toolkit, aimed at helping local authorities produce annual reports to make the whole issue of parking more transparent to the public. Bear that in mind when you get a ticket next time.

That’s not all we’ve being doing this month! The Four Colman Getty events team joined up with Four BGB to bring a taste of One&Only Cape Town to London.

Esteemed South African chef Reuben Riffel hosted three dinners in the luxurious Cheval Apartments overlooking the Thames, using locally sourced produce from Borough Market, matched with fabulous South African wines. The wow factor was certainly achieved and the team even got to see Smithfield Market at one end of the day, stunning moonlit views of Tower Bridge at the other end, and learned about South African flavours in between! 

Finally, we’ve been working over the last few months with Findmypast.co.uk in association with The National Archives (TNA) on the online launch of The 1939 Register this week. Dubbed ‘The Wartime Domesday Book’, this was the crucial national record, commissioned on the brink of WWII, to take stock of the civil population in order to issue Identity Cards, and establish rationing and other war time provisions. The Register also went on to play a central role in the establishment of post-war services like the NHS. 

As writer and broadcaster, Andrew Marr says ‘…it captures people whose lives were about to change forever. It records streets that within months, under the assault of the Luftwaffe, were to disappear; families that would be separated by the events of war: evacuation, conscription and sometimes worse. This fascinating resource allows us to discover our past and that of our families in ways never before possible.’  

That’s all for now! More next month.

All best

Dotti

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