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Samuel Johnson Prize Roundup

Samuel Johnson Prize Roundup


With the dust settled on another fantastic Samuel Johnson Prize year here is a quick roundup of what the six shortlisted authors have been doing since the winner announcement. 



Self-proclaimed Hispanophile and eminent historian Paul Preston continues with his chronicle of Spanish history. Following the success of The Spanish Holocaust, and in light of the fast moving events in Spain, he has updated his biography of monarch Juan Carlos. He discusses the revisions with Spanish newspaper El Pais.  



Author of Stindberg: A Life, Sue Prideaux recently spoke to Yale University Press about the legacy of the visionary Swedish playwright, the psychological focus of his works, and the appeal of his plays to female actors.



In November, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Boo won the National Book Award in the nonfiction category for her first book, Behind the Beautiful Forever’s and also came a very close second in the Guardian first Book award. The expertly researched account of the lives of rubbish sorters in an Indian slum has earned widespread praise for its dramatic and compassionate narrative.  You can listen to an interview with Katherine and read an extract from her book here.



Lauded by the Guardian as “a brilliant, mind-altering book about the decline of violence” Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of our Nature was also shortlisted for the 2012 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books against a heavyweight list of popular science writing.  You can watch a thought-provoking reading and interview with Steven Pinker here.



There was exciting news for Robert MacFarlane who was announced as the chair of Judges for the Man Booker Prize 2013. His book The Old Ways continues to win critical acclaim and was chosen by Irish novelist John Banville in Guardian’s books of the year.



Life hasn’t been boring for Wade Davis after winning the Samuel Johnson Prize. The anthropologist, ethnobotanist, author and photographer has now been asked by National Geographic to go to the five wildest places in the world!  Despite the job title of ‘National Geographic’s Explorer in Residence’ Wade has said “real” explorers no longer exist; he tells the Guardian about a man he considers a true explorer, Charles Howard Bury.  

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