Guardian first book winner

Dr Hannah Levis, Reader in Ophthalmic Bioengineering, Eye & Vision Sciences

Alex HarrisA Lecturer from the School of English has won a prestigious award for first-time authors.

Dr Alexandra Harris, Director of the MA in Contemporary Literature, beat four other works to become this year’s Guardian First Book winner with her debut book Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper.

“I wanted to get over this divide that we get in some books between the international and the insular,” said Alexandra. “John Piper and Graham Sutherland have been written about in the past as the most insular, inward-looking artists, and yet they’re not. Part of what’s so special is their understanding of European tradition and their great love for it all, their way of creating a dialogue between home and abroad.”

Alexandra wins £10,000 and an advertising package in the Guardian and The Observer, and follows in the footsteps of Zadie Smith and Jonathan Safran Foer, two of the previous winners of the award.

Guardian Literary Editor Claire Armistead, who chaired the judging panel said: “Alexandra’s groundbreaking book is a reminder of how important higher education is to literature.”

Published by Thames and Hudson Romantic Moderns is available for £14.95 (RRP £19.95) with free UK p&p from the Guardian Bookshop. Call 0330 333 6846 or visit

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