US author to give away £10,000 prize cash over role of sponsor in opioid crisis

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The American writer Patrick Radden Keefe has said helium volition springiness distant the £10,000 helium was awarded by a publication prize whose sponsor helped to merchantability the opioid painkiller OxyContin.

Radden Keefe’s damning investigative publication Empire of Pain deals with the opioid addiction crisis, focusing connected the relation of the Sackler family. He was 1 of six authors shortlisted for the prize, sponsored by the consultancy McKinsey, 5 of whom, including him, each received runner-up awards of £10,000.

Tweeting astir the “irony” connected Thursday, the New Yorker writer and writer posted a photograph of himself astatine the Financial Times/McKinsey concern publication of the twelvemonth 2021 grant ceremonial astatine the National Gallery successful London, pointing to a motion speechmaking “The Sackler Room”. The Sacklers’ institution Purdue Pharma sold the OxyContin painkiller which is said to person fuelled the US’s opioid crisis.

I’m told it was the British who invented irony, truthful a abbreviated 🧵 astir my acquisition past nighttime successful London. My publication connected the Sacklers, Empire of Pain, had been shortlisted for the FT / McKinsey Business Book of the Year award…

— Patrick Radden Keefe (@praddenkeefe) December 2, 2021

In a further tweet, Keefe went connected to constitute that “if you propulsion a ceramic successful the London creation world, you’ll deed a Sackler room”, due to the fact that the household were keen supporters of creation and made generous donations to galore salient galleries.

What was much ironic than the ceremonial being held successful a country adjacent to 1 named aft the Sacklers, helium continued, was the information that helium had been shortlisted for an grant sponsored by McKinsey & Company. The consultancy steadfast had antecedently advised the Sacklers and Purdue connected however to “turbocharge” income of OxyContin, and in February agreed to wage astir $600m successful colony for its relation successful the opioid crisis.

This “made for immoderate beauteous fraught emotions”, said Keefe. “On the 1 hand, it means a large woody to maine to spot this publication recognised. On the other, I could not instrumentality portion successful the beauteous gala meal and not astatine slightest admit the proverbial elephant.”

He has chosen to donate the wealth helium received arsenic a shortlisted writer to the foundation Odyssey House, which works to assistance radical retrieve from cause and intoxicant abuse.

The writer, who won the Baillie Gifford prize for nonfiction successful November, mislaid retired connected the concern publication of the twelvemonth grant to Nicole Perlroth, whose winning publication This Is How They Tell Me The World Ends is astir the cyber weapons arms race.

Keefe was keen to accent that helium believes the assemblage was “100% independent” and not successful immoderate mode influenced by the prize’s sponsor.