Craig Brown, Wade Davis, Barbara Demick, Patrick Radden Keefe, Margaret MacMillan and James Shapiro are today, Thursday 9 March, announced as the six authors shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction’s Winner of Winners Award.
This special one-off award marks the 25th anniversary of the UK’s premier non-fiction book prize. It will crown the best work of non-fiction from the last 25 years, recognising the outstanding work of all previous 24 prizewinners. The winner receives £25,000.
- The shortlist ‘showcases the best of this great prize and features works of high ambition, formal innovation, and thrilling originality’, according to Chair of judges, Jason Cowley
- The shortlisted works span 18 years of the prize’s 25-year history, with winners from 2002 to 2020 recognised
- A wide range of British heroes and exports take centre stage, from The Beatles and William Shakespeare to mountaineer George Mallory
- The list explores pivotal moments in history including 1599, the year Shakespeare produced some of his greatest works; 1919, the year of the Paris Peace Conference, and 1924, the year George Mallory attempted to reach the summit of Everest
- Books that have changed the world also feature, including Patrick Radden Keefe’s Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty which exposed the role of the Sackler family in the devastating opioid crisis that swept the United States
The winner announcement takes place on Thursday 27 April at an event held at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh
The shortlist of 6 books were chosen by the Winner of Winners Award judging panel: New Statesman editor-in-chief, Jason Cowley (chair); academic, critic and broadcaster, Shahidha Bari; journalist, author and academic, Sarah Churchwell; and biographer and critic Frances Wilson. Their selection was made from the previous 24 prizewinning books.
The titles on the shortlist are:
|Author / translator (Nationality)||Title (Imprint) – Year of win|
|Craig Brown (UK)||One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time (4th Estate, HarperCollins) – 2020|
|Wade Davis (Canada)||Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest (The Bodley Head, Vintage, Penguin Random House UK) – 2012|
|Barbara Demick (US)||Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea (Granta) – 2010|
|Patrick Radden Keefe (US)||Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty (Picador) – 2021|
|Margaret Macmillan (Canada)||Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed The World (formerly Peacemakers: Six Months That Changed The World) (John Murray Press, Hachette) – 2002|
|James Shapiro (US)||1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (Faber & Faber) – 2006|
Jason Cowley, Chair of Judges, says:
“It was a pleasure to read and discuss at length and in detail all the prize-winning books and it was challenging for us to choose six. But we are delighted with the range and quality of our shortlist, which showcases the best of this great prize and features works of high ambition, formal innovation, and thrilling originality – works of history, narrative-driven reportage, investigative journalism, and literary and cultural biography.”
Matt Hennessey, Waterstones Non-Fiction Category Manager:
“From an outstanding list of 24 the judges have selected six titles that encapsulate the breadth of quality Non-Fiction writing the Baillie Gifford Prize has championed over the past quarter century. They have all proven enduringly popular with our customers and booksellers alike and I am sure this latest accolade will help bring them to an even wider audience. We are delighted to support these titles and this prize and look forward to seeing which book the judges choose as their winner.”
Readers of the six shortlisted books will explore the chance fusion of John, Paul, George and Ringo in the rise of The Beatles and their legacy; journey with George Mallory on his quest to reach the summit of Everest; be immersed in the myriad lives of six North Korean citizens, following the death of Kim Il Sung in 1994; unpick the role of the Sackler family in the devastating opioid crisis that swept the United States; discover the personalities, ideals, and prejudices of the people who shaped the Paris Peace Conference of 1919; and spend a momentous year in the life of Shakespeare in 1599, which saw him complete Henry V, write Julius Caesar and As You Like It in quick succession, and produce the first draft of arguably his greatest play, Hamlet.
The winner announcement
The winner will be announced on Thursday 27 April at an event held at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
Waterstones will be celebrating the 25th anniversary with displays of all 24 previous winners, paying tribute to the Baillie Gifford Prize’s history and influence as the biggest UK-based non-fiction book prize.