Double winner: PJ Harvey takes Mercury Prize again


English singer Polly Harvey has become the first person to be a double winner of the Mercury Prize – the annual award given to what is judged to be the best British or Irish album of the year. Harvey, who is managed by U2’s manger, Paul McGuinness, won for her Let England Shakealbum which had been the bookie’s favourite since the 12-strong shortlist was announced in June.

Harvey, who records under the name PJ Harvey, wins a cash prize of £20,000 but more importantly she can expect a big increase in sales of her current album – previous Mercury Prize winners have seen sales increases of up to 500 per cent. Harvey had previously won the award in 2001 for her Stories From The City, Stories From The Seaalbum.

Speaking at the award reception in London last night , Harvey mentioned how she was unable to pick up her award 10 years ago. “It was September 11th, 2001 and I was stuck in Washington DC watching the Pentagon burn from my hotel bedroom so it is great to be here in person tonight.”

Harvey beat off close competition from fellow nominees Adele, Anna Calvi and King Creosote to take the prize. She picked up some of the best reviews of her long career for Let England Shakewith The Ticketlauding it as “a record of often profound beauty”.

Previous winners of the prestigious prize include Primal Scream, Pulp, Antony and The Johnsons and Arctic Monkeys. No Irish act has ever won the prize but in recent years Lisa Hannigan and Villagers have both been nominated.