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Longlist announced for Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2013

Longlist announced for Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2013



The longlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2013 has been announced today, Friday 6 September. The 18 titles on this year’s longlist span thousands of years of history and tell the stories of people from diverse worlds including politics, exploration and fashion. 

The longlist includes biographies of political figures Edmund Burke, Benjamin Disraeli and Margaret Thatcher, as well as biographies of Everest explorer Griffith Pugh, fashionista Diana Vreeland and poet Gabriele D’Annunzio. Histories on the list cover the entire period from the foundation of Judaism and the Roman Empire, via the Habsburg Empire and the first Afghan War, to post World War II Europe. Other titles include a study of families with exceptional children, a tour of the lost spaces of great houses, and an account of the importance of bees.

Martin Rees, chair of the judges, said:

“Deciding on the longlist was at once a demanding and a delightful task for the judges. We were privileged to have the pretext to read so many excellent books. But sifting out an agreed longlist of eighteen entailed tough choices. The range of titles on the list reflects the welcome diversity and quality of non-fiction writing. We're confident that readers will find much to admire and enjoy in these original, enlightening and thought-provoking books."

The 18 titles on this year’s longlist are:

·         Small Wars, Far Away Places, Michael Burleigh (Pan Macmillan)

·         Empires of the Dead: How One Man's Vision Led to the Creation of WW1's War Graves, David Crane (William Collins)       

·         Return of a King, William Dalrymple (Bloomsbury)

·         A Sting In The Tale, Dave Goulson (Jonathan Cape)

·         Under Another Sky, Charlotte Higgins (Jonathan Cape)

·         The Memory Palace, Edward Hollis (Portobello Books)           

·         The Pike, Lucy Hughes-Hallett (4th Estate)           

·         Disraeli, Douglas Hurd & Edward Young (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)    

·         Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, David Kynaston (Bloomsbury)

·         Diana Vreeland: Empress of Fashion, Amanda Mackenzie Stuart (Thames & Hudson)    

·         The War That Ended Peace, Margaret Macmillan (Profile Books)    

·         Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, Charles Moore (Allen Lane)         

·         Time's Anvil, Richard Morris (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

·         Edmund Burke: Philosopher, Politician, Prophet, Jesse Norman (William Collins)

·         The Story of the Jews, Simon Schama (The Bodley Head)

·         Far From The Tree, Andrew Solomon (Chatto & Windus)        

·         Everest: The First Ascent, Harriet Tuckey (Rider Books)            

·         Danubia, Simon Winder (Picador)           

The longlist has been chosen by Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal (chair of judges); classicist, Mary Beard; Director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti; historian, Peter Hennessy; and writer and non-fiction reviewer, James McConnachie.

The winner of last year’s prize was Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest, by Wade Davis, published by The Bodley Head.

This year’s shortlist will be announced on 30 September, and the winner on 4 November. The winner of the prize, the UK’s leading non-fiction prize, will receive £20,000.

The BBC Culture Show will broadcast pieces about the six shortlisted books on 30 October, at 10.00pm on BBC 2. BBC Radio 4’s World at One will broadcast a series of interviews with the shortlisted authors in the lead-up to the winner announcement.

The shortlisted authors will appear in events at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival on Sunday 6 October, and at the Southbank Centre on Sunday 3 November. 


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