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Royal Cornwall Museum
Benjamin Myers: Cuddy


This prize was first awarded in 2008 with a generous legacy in Winston Graham’s will to the Royal Institution of Cornwall in Truro, which runs the Royal Cornwall Museum (RCM) and the Courtney Library. At its inception this was awarded for a work of historical fiction set in Cornwall or the South West. However, despite very worthy winners, it was ultimately decided that restricting the prize’s reach quite as much as this was probably drawing the potential field unnecessarily narrowly.

In 2023 the Royal Cornwall Museum decided the prize should be relaunched – still to be called The Winston Graham Prize for Historical Fiction – but now open to entries from across the nation. The main entry criterion was that it should be ‘an historical novel with a powerful sense of place’ set within the bounds of the United Kingdom. The 2024 prize has been a huge success. Around 70 entries and a wonderful shortlist put together by groups of readers drawn from across Cornwall by Charlotte Hobson – chair of the Judges.


At the prize giving, which was held at the RCM on Friday 22nd March 2024, with a large gathering of all those involved, novelist and judge of the prize, Louis de Bernières presented the £3000 award to Benjamin Myers for his extraordinary and brilliant novel Cuddy. This is about the hermit Saint Cuthbert and his removal after death from his inhospitable island off the coast of Northumbria to the mainland and across country, and the later founding in his honour of what is now Durham Cathedral.


As Louis de Bernières said, ‘This book is atmospheric and thoroughly original, with a cast of characters spanning the centuries, at the centre of whose lives is the corpse of a saint. The writing of this book must have been an act of love, and now we know; the North of England is a holy place. Cuddy is a great book and a worthy winner.’

​More information about the timetable for the next Winston Graham prize may be found on the RCM website here.

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