Stephen Fry awards writing prize to graduate

Wednesday 19 October 2005

Actor and writer Stephen Fry has awarded a major writing prize to a University of St Andrews graduate.

Last night (19 October 2005), the 2005 Keats-Shelley Prize for an essay on any aspect of the life and work of the poets John Keats or Percy Bysshe Shelley was presented to David Taylor, who graduated from the School of English in June 2005. The prize is presented annually at the Courtauld Institute in London.

Fry, who chaired the judges for this year’s competition and has recently published a book about poetry, entitled ‘The Ode Less Travelled’ also presented the Keats-Shelley award for an original poem on a Romantic theme – this year’s subject was ‘Ghosts’. Fry then delivered the annual Keats-Shelley Memorial Association lecture, on the art of writing poetry.

David Taylor, who gained a First in English and was the winner, while at St Andrews, of several prizes including the Miller Prize for most distinguished graduate in Arts, is now studying for a doctorate in English at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he holds a scholarship. His prize-winning essay, which deals with Shelley, is entitled ‘A Vacant Space, an Empty Stage”: Prometheus Unbound, the Last Man, and the Problem of Dramatic (Re)Form’. Total prize money of £3000 is shared between a winner and a runner-up in each prize category.

The Keats-Shelley Memorial Association was founded in 1903 to commemorate Keats, Shelley and the other Romantic poets who spent much time in Italy, especially Byron and Leigh Hunt . It maintains Keats’ and Shelley’s graves and has its own museum: the house in Rome, in the Piazza di Spagna, where Keats died of tuberculosis in 1821 aged only 25. Each year, it organises the Keats- Shelley Prize to encourage aspiring poets and new academic work on Romantic writing.

Professor Nicholas Roe, Head of the School of English said, “We are delighted, but not at all surprised, that David Taylor, who consistently produced outstanding work in the course of his degree at St Andrews, has won this major award. It seems apt that a prize awarded in honour of two poets who died too young has been won by someone at the start of a hugely promising academic career. We congratulate David and wish him continuing success as he pursues his doctoral research”.


Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information, please contact Claire Grainger, Press Officer – 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or [email protected]; Ref: press releases/davidtaylor View the latest University news at

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