A book exploring the tragedy of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011 has won the Rathbones Folio Prize.
Richard Lloyd Parry’s non-fiction work, Ghosts Of The Tsunami, is labelled the definitive book on the quake which killed more than 15,000 people and led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Lloyd Parry, an award-winning foreign correspondent, lived through the earthquake in Tokyo and spent six years reporting from the disaster zone.
He will receive the £20,000 prize, which rewards the best work of literature of the year, regardless of the form.
Also nominated for the prize were Mohsin Hamid’s novel Exit West, a story of love and hope set against the refugee crisis, and Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends, which explores high-risk relationships, youth and love.
Also on the list were Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout, Xiaolu Guo’s account of growing up in China, Once Upon A Time In The East, Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor, The Day That Went Missing by Richard Beard, and White Tears by Hari Kunzru.
Judges Kate Summerscale, Nikesh Shukla and Jim Crace said: “From a shortlist of eight powerful, moving, important books, we have selected Ghosts Of The Tsunami by Richard Lloyd Parry as our winner.
“It is a piece of heightened reportage about the 2011 Japanese earthquake and its devastating aftermaths, rendered as great literature. It is both harrowing and inspiring.
“Here is a book which not only interprets for a non-Japanese reader the subtleties and complexities of that nation’s life, especially its family life and how it copes with grief, but also has the depth and reach to close the gaps between other nations, other cultures. Read it and you will be changed for the better.”
The prize was awarded at a ceremony at the British Library.
Philip Howell, CEO of Rathbones, said: “Our heartfelt congratulations go to Richard Lloyd Parry for winning the Rathbones Folio Prize 2018.
“Being cross-genre, this prize highlights the diversity of great writing and for Richard Lloyd Parry to be elevated above such a strong shortlist is an impressive feat.
“Colleagues at Rathbones, clients and friends have all greatly enjoyed exploring the shortlist proving the power of the written word to engage, challenge and connect.
“We look forward to our continued collaboration with the Folio Academy Foundation in support of the Rathbones Folio Prize and our other programmes, such as Rathbones Folio Mentorships for young writers and Rathbones BookBubble digital reading programme.”