Jane Grigson Award

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About the Jane Grigson Trust Award

Jane Grigson was one of the greatest food writers that Britain has produced. Her books - especially her ground-breaking Good Things, Vegetable Book and Fruit Book - are still regarded by many leading food writers and cooks as major inspirations for their work.

In honour of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Jane's death, The Jane Grigson Trust launched an Award for new food writers in 2015.

Jane's observation on writing, made in the last year of her life, has been a guiding principle in setting up this award:

Writing a book is for me an act of faith and folly. You have a plan of course, but you bluster about in the work, following blindly, one step after another, slogging it out in the early stages. Then suddenly you come across one thing, one reference, one passage, that explains to you why you are writing this particular book, that gives you the theme, that shows you the way. You have in a sense to earn this discovery. It is a reward.

Literary prizes are usually given for newly published works or for books already on sale. The Jane Grigson Trust Award is, however, to be given to a promising new writer ahead of publication in order to help them discover 'one thing, one reference, one passage... that gives you the theme, that shows you the way'.

The £2000 award is made to a writer new to food and drink writing (although they may have written on other subjects) who has already received a commission from a publishing house but whose book has not yet been published. In the spirit of Jane, the Award is for a non-fiction book on food and drink in the widest sense - so it could be a cook book, memoir, travel, history or anything else for that matter, so long as the primary subject is food or drink.

The Jane Grigson Trust intends that the writer will use the Award for further travel/research to deepen their knowledge of their chosen subject in the vital time between gaining a commission and delivery of the script.

Rules of entry

Jane Grigson Trust Award 2017

The winner of the Jane Grigson Trust Award 2017 Award is:

Vicky Hayward: The New Art of Cookery: A Spanish Friar’s Kitchen Notebook
Drawing on her deep knowledge of Spanish culture, Vicky Hayward gives a modern retelling of an eighteenth-century classic cookbook, including fresh, simple and surprisingly easy to make recipes.
(To be published by Rowman & Littlefield in June 2017)

The two other short-listed books are:


Bronwen & Francis Percival: Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, Microbes and the Fight for Real Cheese
The husband and wife team of Francis and Bronwen Percival, both of whom are passionate about cheese (Bronwen is the buyer at Neals Yard Dairy), set out to answer the deceptively simple question: What is real cheese?
(To be published by the University of California Press, September 2017)

Kitty Travers: La Grotta Ices
Having been able to turn a childhood pleasure into a thriving artisan business, Kitty Travers shares her unusual but delicious ice cream recipes, for everything from Blackcurrant Leaf Water Ice to Chocolate and Caper Ice Cream.
(To be published by Square Peg in Spring 2018)

The judges for the 2017 Award were:

Geraldene Holt (author, chair of the Jane Grigson Trust); Henrietta Green (food writer and broadcaster, Trustee of the JGT); Felicity Cloake (Guardian food writer and New Statesman columnist, Trustee of the JGT); Matthew Fort (food writer and critic); Diana Henry (Sunday Telegraph food writer and author).

Jane Grigson Trust Award 2016

The winner of the Jane Grigson Trust Award 2016 was:

The Magic Bay Leaf by Alex Andreou
In The Magic Bay Leaf, writer, blogger and actor Alex Andreou brilliantly blends memoir, travel writing and food writing to reveal the hidden art of real Greek food. The Magic Bay Leaf will be published by Chatto & Windus in Autumn 2017.

Alex Andreou says of winning the Award:
'At precisely the point when the project looked far too titanic to tackle, when I had begun to doubt myself - as every writer must - the Jane Grigson Trust Award put the wind back in my sails. It gave me the boost, focus and breathing space to break through my barriers. I will be ever grateful for Jane Grigson's vision and the Trust's faith.'

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