Claire Adam reflects on the Desmond Elliott Prize

As another cycle of the Desmond Elliott Prize draws to a close we asked 2019 winner Claire Adam to share her experience and memories of this year’s Prize.


2019 Desmond Elliott Prize Winner Claire AdamIt’s a huge honour to have been awarded the Desmond Elliott Prize. I’m writing this a few days after the ceremony, and it still hasn’t quite sunk in: I have a memory of a very pleasant evening at Fortnum & Mason, where speeches were made, photographs were taken, and there was much laughter and good cheer.

Now, on my kitchen table, there are several bouquets of flowers, and bottles of champagne. In the drawer of my desk, there is a cheque in a silver envelope that I need to take to the bank. Congratulations are coming in from far and wide – by email, twitter, Whatsapp, text message; I haven’t dared look at Instagram or Facebook. I would normally reply to all these well-wishers, but there are just too many, and so I don’t know what to do. Since the ceremony last week, I have spent many an unproductive hour in a bit of a daze, not quite sure what to do with myself: I am both hugely appreciative of all this attention, and wholly unprepared for it. But the solution, I think, is very simple: when in doubt, write. That is what this award is all about, and that is what I wish to do. So, thank you, again, dear judges and Trustees of the Prize; thank you, all ye well-wishers; and thank you, Desmond, wherever you are.