Top literary award for father and daughter

editorial image

A University of Buckingham lecturer and his daughter have won one of the world’s most prestigious literary prizes for a book which explores the relationship between the book of Revelation and how it is interpreted in art, music and literature.

The ACE/Mercers’ Book Award is the only prize for a publication that “notably advances a public understanding of the relationship between the visual arts and religious experience, beliefs and practice.”

Philosophy lecturer Professor Anthony O’Hear, and his daughter Natasha, who is an honorary lecturer in Theology, Imagination and the Arts at the University of St Andrews, were awarded for their book Picturing the Apocalypse: The Book of Revelation in the Arts over Two Millennia, which explores the relationship between the book of Revelation and how it is interpreted in art, music and literature.

Prof O’ Hear said: “We are obviously thrilled by this – which we heard about as we were being driven along Route 443, between Jerusalem and Ramallah, hemmed in by apocalyptic walls – all very symbolic because Jews, Christians and Muslims all believe that the Last Judgement will occur in the Kidron Valley, between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. We were later there at the very place.”

The judges included Tim Marlow, the Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Arts, Eamon Duffy, Emeritus Professor of the History of Christianity at Cambridge and Sandy Nairne, former Director of the National Portrait Gallery.

Anthony O’ Hear is also Director of the Royal Institute of Philosophy and has been a government advisor on education to five secretaries of state for education. He has been editor of the journal Philosophy since 1995, and is the author of many books and articles.

University of Buckingham Vice-Chancellor Sir Anthony Seldon said: “I was absolutely thrilled to read of this great distinction which brings much honour to Professor O’ Hear and his daughter Natasha and to the University. It is a major milestone in the academic life of our University that you have been given this award.”