The Bodley Head and The Financial Times Essay Prize

The Financial Times and The Bodley Head are proud to announce the winner of their sixth annual essay prize as Mark Clemens, 32, from Wheaton, Illinois, with the essay In Sickness and In Health

The judges this year were author Simon Schama, Stuart Williams (Publishing Director, The Bodley Head), Alec Russell, (Editor, FT Weekend) and Literary Agent Georgina Capel of Georgina Capel Associates.

Stuart Williams, Publishing Director at The Bodley head said the essay struck all the judges for its 'flair, subtlety and its sense of humour.' Commenting further, he said: 'Some of the beginnings and endings it describes are intensely personal but they are scenes set against the grand backdrop of New York’s restless history. Like all the best essays, it achieves major effects using a limited canvas. We are thrilled to pick it as our winner.’

The Bodley Head/Financial Times Essay Prize aims to discover global young talent in long-form essay writing.The prize has led to many new and exciting opportunities for winners and runners-up. Hedley Twidle, winner of the very first Bodley Head FT Essay Prize, is now a regular contributor to the FT and other outlets including the New Statesman. Adnan Sarwar, 2013’s winner, has written widely for press in the UK. Edward Posnett won in 2014 for his essay Eiderdown and has his first book, Harvest, due for publication with The Bodley Head in 2019. And last year’s winner, Laurence Blair, has also recently been signed up by The Bodley Head to write his first book, which expands on his 2015 winning essay, Dreams of the Sea.

The winning essay will be published in the Financial Times Life & Arts on 29 December 2018. The winner will also receive:

●      £1000 and an e-publication in January 2019 with The Bodley Head

●      A mentoring session with The Bodley Head and Financial Times

●      A subscription to, and a selection of books from The Bodley Head

Two runners-up works will also be published as e-books by The Bodley Head in January 2019:

The Muralists: Keeping Peace in Belfast's No Man's Land by Stephen Groves and The Restless Earth by Miriam Driessen.

Mark Clemens

Commenting on his win, Mark Clemens said ‘It's a tremendous honor and a thrill---not to say a shock---to have been selected for this prize. When you've been sitting for months under a pile of research, trying to make it cohere with the black comedy of life, it's easy to wonder whether this bizarre, narrow thing could ever be of interest to somebody else. I'm so happy to learn the judges have seen something worthwhile in this essay, and am grateful to the FT and Bodley Head for providing a forum for unknown and odd writers.’

Read Mark's award winning essay In Sickness and In Health on The Financial Times website.

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