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The Financial Times and The Bodley Head announce the winner of their third annual essay prize

The Financial Times and The Bodley Head, an imprint of Random House UK, are proud to announce the winner of their third annual essay prize:

Edward Posnett, ‘Eiderdown’

The winning essay will be published in the Financial Times Life & Arts on 3rd January 2015. The winner will be interviewed on the Vintage Podcast and for FT.com, and will also receive:

  • £1000 and an e-publication with The Bodley Head

  • A mentoring session with The Bodley Head and Financial Times

  • A subscription to FT.com, and a selection of books from The Bodley Head

‘We had a record number of entries this year but one stood out: ‘Eiderdown’ is an effortlessly accomplished essay that opened an entirely unknown world to me, and did it with great style, intelligence and charm. We were thrilled to choose it as our winner.’

Stuart Williams, Publisher, The Bodley Head

‘This was the stand out winner for us. The writing was economic and precise, yet it moved seamlessly to convey a much broader narrative, from a story about the making of eiderdown to a broader take at modern capitalism. It was full of memorable historic details as well as the strong feeling you had really met some of the characters, like a sixteen year old boy whose forearms had “dozens of small scars inflicted by puffins”.’

Caroline Daniel, Editor, FT Weekend

‘I like the esoteric subject matter. It told us a lot about Icelandic culture and it offered another way to talk about globalisation. It married a particular place with a strong sense of soul. It was effortlessly accomplished writing.’

Dan Franklin, Digital Publisher, Penguin Random House UK

‘This was the opposite of fluff. It was a perfect essay with a very big subject coming out from a narrative of a small bird.’

Simon Schama

‘This was an exotic gem that combined nature writing with history and reportage. It also told me about something I knew nothing about.’

Tom Weldon, CEO, Penguin Random House UK

‘I was surprised and delighted to have been chosen as this year’s winner, particularly given the quality of previous winners’ work. It’s wonderful that the FT and the Bodley Head are committed to long-form writing, the sort of work which demands weeks of research, rather than a few hours. All young long-form writers will understand how hard it is to get your work read and published, particularly if you pursue risky projects like wild-duck chases.’

Edward Posnett, 2014 prize-winner

The Financial Times has been a byword for quality writing since 1888, home to some of the world’s best journalists and feature writers, including Martin Wolf, Lucy Kellaway and Gillian Tett. The Bodley Head publishes a distinguished list of non-fiction books by writers including Simon Schama, Karen Armstrong, Jeffrey Sachs and Roger Penrose.

The Bodley Head/Financial Times Essay Prize aims to discover global young talent in long-form essay writing. The competition is open to anyone between 18-35 years old who want their work read and judged by historian Simon Schama, Tom Weldon (CEO, Penguin Random House UK), Stuart Williams (Publisher, The Bodley Head), Dan Franklin (Digital Publisher, Random House Group), Caroline Daniel (Editor, FT Weekend) and Lucy Tuck (Editor of FT Life & Arts).

Judges look for a dynamic, authoritative and lively essay of no more than 3,500 words. It can be journalistic, a case study, wide-ranging or minutely focused. In keeping with the ethos of both sponsors, it can address any topic – from finance and current affairs to history and scientific discovery. We aren’t looking for a particular subject; we’re simply looking for quality writing.

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For further information please contact:

Maria Garbutt-Lucero
Random House
+4420 7840 8563

Kristina Eriksson
Financial Times
+ 44 20 7873 4961

Visit ft.com/essayprize2014 for further information and follow the competition using #BHFTessaycomp.

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