The American Brendan Gill, who died in 1997, was a writer for the New Yorker, to which he contributed more than 1,200 articles, mostly about architecture or the theatre, over a 60-year span.

At the final judging meeting for the 1997 prize, Beryl Bainbridge recalled Gill heading ‘towards the balcony saying he was going to throw himself off, he was so fed up’. He was something of a man-about-town and active in preserving New York’s architectural heritage, especially the once-endangered Grand Central Terminal. Although he was grand enough to be both chairman of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and a vice president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he still found time to lead free walking tours through the New York streets.