Belfast Telegraph

Harvey claims second Mercury prize

PJ Harvey has become the first artist to win the prestigious Barclaycard Mercury Prize for a second time.

The 41-year-old musician - who had long been the bookies' favourite - triumphed with her release Let England Shake which was inspired by modern conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Polly Jean Harvey beat acts such as chart-topper Adele and Brit-winning star Tinie Tempah to the £20,000 prize.

She had previously won the Mercury a decade ago on the night of September 11 and on that occasion was trapped in Washington DC following the earlier terrorist attacks.

PJ wore a full-length white dress with a white leather bodice shaped like a strait-jacket - the design of which had been inspired by her album - to attend the ceremony at London's Grosvenor House Hotel.

Collecting the prize she said: "Thank you for the recognition of my work on this album.

"It's also good to be here this evening. When I last won 10 years ago on September 11, 2001, I was watching the Pentagon burning from my hotel window.

"So much has happened since then. This album took me a long time to write. It was very important to me. I wanted to make something meaningful, not just for myself but for other people, and hopefully to make something that would last."

The album features graphic lyrics about warfare, as well as allusions to other songs and unusually includes the prominent use of an autoharp, played by Harvey.

Speaking backstage, the singer-songwriter took time out to praise her fellow nominees and picked out Everything, Everything and Adele.

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