We're delighted that Julia Lovell has won this year’s Jan Michalski Prize, a multicultural literary award set up to contribute to a wider recognition of the writers. Her book The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams and the Making of China is a comprehensive and compelling account of the causes and consequences of the Opium War.

The prize was created in 2004 in memory of Jan Michalski, publisher and cofounder of les éditions Noir sur Blanc, in order to continue his work for the advancement of literature. The aim of the foundation is to provide support for writing through many activities, from granting financial assistance, and the organisation of literary encounters, to hosting writers in residence. 

Julia is the first writer to win this prize with a work of non-fiction, and Isabel Hilton, one of the judges, commented on the relevance to the modern world of her subject, saying: ‘The Opium War continues to influence attitudes and relations on both sides, as China struggles to define itself, and the world struggles to decide what it thinks of China.’ The prize of 50,000 Swiss francs and a drawing by the Swiss artist Martial Leiter was awarded in the library of the Maison de l’Ecriture, the new writers’ centre currently under construction in Montricher. 

Read more about Julia and her book

Find out more about the foundation