The Sunday Times launch £5,000 award for aspiring food writers in memory of AA Gill
Gill died in 2016 from what he described as “the Full English” of cancer
The Sunday Times have announced a new annual award for unpublished food writers in honour of the late AA Gill, a popular writer and critic for the newspaper.
The award's aim is to kickstart the career of a previously unpublished writer based in the UK. Entrants must be over 21 and submit their own restaurant review of between 1,000-1,200 words. Importantly, writers will not be judged on their spelling or grammar as Gill, himself severely dyslexic, used to transcribe his reviews over the phone.
The winner will not only have their piece published in The Sunday Times Magazine and receive £5,000.
Gill announced in a review of a fish and chip in Whitby, North Yorkshire, that he had "the Full English" of cancer, and died in 2016.
He was widely read and won many awards for his writing, being described as a "giant among journalists" upon his death.
The writer courted controversy throughout his career, believing criticism to be an undervalued skill. Examples of his comments which drew attention included:
• Describing Welsh people as "loquacious, dissemblers, immoral liars, stunted, bigoted, dark, ugly, pugnacious little trolls".
• Saying the Isle of Man had "fallen off the back of the history lorry to lie amnesiac in the road to progress".
• Calling Norfolk "the hernia on the end of England".
Animal rights groups were also outraged when Gill wrote in his Sunday Times' column about shooting a baboon dead, writing: "I know perfectly well there is absolutely no excuse for this", and that he killed the animal to "get a sense of what it might be like to kill someone, a stranger".
One runner up will receive a £500 prize and another will receive £250. The deadline for entries is 17th April and submissions should be sent to [email protected] along with a 150 word supporting statement about themselves. Further details can be found on The Sunday Times' website.
Flora Gill, his daughter, said: "Dad had an opinion on everything. Not just restaurants and television, but his daughter’s boyfriend, outfit, even the colour of a pedicure. Infuriatingly, he was usually right: the men didn’t last as long as my lime nail polish. He believed the job of critic gave him a 'licence to kill with words'. Criticism, he said, was an underrated skill. Lots of people called themselves a critic, but very few were any good at it.
"Reviewing restaurants with Dad was one of my favourite activities: a fake name, a table of different dishes, but, most important, his company."