PJ Harvey won Britain’s most prestigious popular music award on Tuesday, but was unable to accept it in person after being stranded in the United States following devastating attacks on New York and Washington.
The British singer-songwriter told the Mercury Award ceremony in London by telephone from Washington: “It has been a very surreal day. All I can say is thank you very much I am absolutely stunned.”
Referring to the day’s tragedy she said: “The whole city is in a state of shock.”
U.S. authorities halted all civilian flights until at least midday on Wednesday after three hijacked domestic airliners crashed into the Pentagon and New York’s World Trade Centre.
Harvey, who has been nominated for the prize on two previous occasions, scooped the award for the album “Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea.”
She beat acts such as Zero 7, Turin Brakes, Elbow and Radiohead to the $30,000 prize, which often courts controversy for the judges’ tendency to pick winners who display more originality than commercial success.
The shortlist of 12 announced in July contained a number of artists who were not well known and had seen little chart success.
Last year’s prize went to Damon Gough, better known as Badly Drawn Boy, for his album “The Hour of Bewilderbeast.”