The winner is selected from a field of 53 countries and the prize has previously been awarded to the likes of Vikram Seth, Louis de Bernieres and David Malouf. It is customary for the winner to meet the monarch as well as collect a cheque.
The Commonwealth award for a first book, worth pounds 3,000, was won by the Canadian writer Ann-Marie Macdonald for her debut novel, Fall on Your Knees.
Born in Toco, Trinidad, Earl Lovelace worked as a forest ranger and a journalist on the island before becoming Writer in Residence at the University of the West Indies. Salt, published by Faber (pounds 14.99), paints a vivid panorama of West Indian culture and history through the life of Alford George, a teacher-turned-politician..Reuse content