Duff Cooper’s bookplate,
designed by Rex Whistler
Duff Cooper, statesman, diplomat and author, was born in 1890. He won the DSO as a second lieutenant in the First World War, and entered Parliament in 1923. His life was devoted to politics until 1938 when, as First Lord of the Admiralty, he resigned in protest at the Munich Agreement. Called back to office by Churchill in 1940, his wartime career culminated in his appointment as Ambassador to France. Shortly before his death he was made 1st Viscount Norwich. Among his best-known books are Talleryrand, Operation Heartbreak and his autobiography, Old Men Forget.
After Duff Cooper's death in 1954, a group of his friends formed a Trust to endow a literary prize in his memory. Two of the five judges appointed by the Trust are ex-officio: the Warden of New College, Oxford, and a member of Duff Cooper's family - originally Duff Cooper's son, John Julius Norwich. He ran the prize for its first thirty-six years, and then passed it on his daughter, Artemis Cooper. The other three judges serve for five years and appoint their own successors. The first three were Maurice Bowra, Cyril Connolly and Raymond Mortimer. Those serving at present are Professor Laura Marcus, representing the Warden of New College; the writer and biographer Patrick Marnham; John McBratney, film critic and retired Senior Counsel; and Lindsay Duguid, former editor at the TLS.
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