Sufjan Stevens wins new US award

He sees off Arcade Fire, Antony & The Johnsons to scoop gong

Sufjan Stevens has won the first New Pantheon Award in the US for his 2005 album, ‘Illinoise’.

The award replaces the short-lived Shortlist Prize which had been pitched as the American Mercury Prize. Stevens beat nine other finalists – including Arcade Fire and Antony & the Johnsons to the $5,000 award. The prize recognises significant albums in the US that have sold less than 500,000 copies.

There was no ceremony or concert to mark the unveiling of the winner this year. Instead details were posted on the New Pantheon website. Organisers blamed “logistical reasons” for the lack of final event.

The panel selecting the winner this year included Elton John, Beck, Dave Matthews and Shirley Manson.

They commended Stevens “incredibly ambitious and complex work.”