EDINBURGH, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- The winners of Britain's oldest literary awards were announced on Saturday at an evening event during the ongoing Edinburgh International Book Festival.
British writer Jim Crace won the James Tait Black Prizes' fiction category prize for his novel Harvest inspired by the daily toil of a shepherdess, and biographer Dame Hermione Lee was awarded the biography category prize for her book about a Booker prize-winning author Penelope Fitzgerald: A life.
Published in 2013, Harvest tells the story of a remote English village as economic progress disrupts pastoral idyll following the Enclosure Act, creating legal property rights to land that was previously considered common.
Fiction judge Dr. Lee Spinks said: "In Harvest, Jim Crace presents a spellbinding lyrical reflection upon the nature of cultural inheritance and the obligations and responsibilities of community in a changing and uncertain world."
Lee has written widely on women writers, American literature, life-writing, and modern fiction. Her Biography writes about Penelope Fitzgerald, an English writer who won the Booker Prize for 1979 and died in April 2000, aged at 83.
Biography judge Prof Jonathan Wild said: "Hermione Lee's biography of Penelope Fitzgerald provides a masterclass in writing of this type. It's the perfect marriage of an excellent subject and a biographer working at the very top of her game."
The 10,000-pound (about 16,600 U.S. dollars) prizes for each category have been awarded annually by the University of Edinburgh since 1919.
Timothy O'Shea, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, said the Prizes are Britain's oldest literary awards and first of its kind awarded by a university.
Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, highlighted the strong partnership between the University of Edinburgh and the Book Festival in promoting the Prizes.
Each year, more than 400 novels are read by the University's academics and postgraduate students who nominate books for the shortlist. The prizes were given respectively to works of Fiction and Biography written in English and published in the previous calendar year.
In 2013, the prize was extended to include a new category for drama. British playwright Rory Mullarkey won this year's drama prize of 10,000 pounds for his play "Cannibals" dealing with the consequences of war and the nature of love.
The James Tait Black Prizes were set up by the widow of publisher James Tait Black, to commemorate her husband's love of good books.