This from the website :
Two stories intertwine in Belben’s finely written novel – that of Philomena, a horse serving in Egypt and Palestine during the First World War, and Griselda, her daughter Amabel and Nanny, the original owners of the horse before her requisition, who travel across Egypt to find her. That Philomena’s stoicism and duty is as apparent as her owners is testament to Belben’s ability to give life and language to animals as well as humans. She does this without any sense of strain or anthropomorphism, through a rich and innovative use of language that never slips into the sentimental. An innovatively plotted and convincingly executed novel.The novel is reviewed by dovegreyreader, and by Jane Shilling in the Telegraph.
The biography prize went to Rosemary Hill for God's Architect: Pugin and the Building of Romantic Britain, which took the author 15 years to write
Augustus Welby Pugin (1812-1852) — think Big Ben, think the spire of the ‘Hub’ near the top of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh — was an eccentric but influential designer of everything from cathedrals to plant-pots who paved the way for High Victorian Gothic and sowed the seeds of the later Arts and Crafts movement. He also led a personal life of colourful complexity (and sad brevity) at the centre of the mid-century ‘English Catholic’ revival. Rosemary Hill’s very full and readable biography does justice to all the facets of the man and his work, and relates them outward to a fast-changing world beyond.Professor Colin Nicholson, of the University of Edinburgh and one of the judges, praised the two books for their readability, although he said (most diplomatically) that all the shortlisted titles would have been worthy of the prize.
The James Tait Black Memorial Prizes are awarded to one work of fiction and one work of biography each year.