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Rules and conditions of entry

Submissions to the 2019 prize are now closed.


a The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction will be awarded to the book the judges consider to be the best work of non-fiction in the year of the prize. In selecting the winner, the judges will be looking for originality, quality of writing and the book’s impact upon the reader.

b Publishers are asked to submit up to three titles per imprint. Publishers may also submit a list of up to three titles, accompanied by a brief justification, of additional books they would like the judges to call in for consideration. (Please do not send copies of the call-in books.) The judges may also call in any other eligible book. The judges will choose the books they wish to read from all the submissions and call-ins and will then decide a longlist followed by a shortlist, with a maximum of six books and no minimum. The winner will be chosen from this shortlist.

c The judges are chosen by the Board of The Samuel Johnson Prize Limited. The prize is administered by Four Culture.


a Eligible books are likely to come from the following categories: the arts, autobiography, biography, business and commerce, current affairs, history, natural history, popular science, religion, sport and travel.

b The following categories of book are not eligible:

• Fiction, poetry, plays, practical manuals, guides, educational, academic and children’s books. Books where the preponderance of the contents are illustrations.

• Books which have been written specifically as spin-offs from a television or radio series. Books which are complemented by a broadcast series but which can stand independently as literary works can be considered.

• Reprints, re-issues or revised editions.

c Books must be published in English in the UK between 1 November 2018 and 31 October 2019.

d Authors must be alive when their books are submitted.

e Authors of any nationality are eligible, and their books can originally have been published in any language provided that they are first published in English in the UK between the specified dates

f Books must not be written by more than two authors.

g Hardbacks and paperbacks are eligible.

h Eligible titles will be works of non-fiction in print published in the UK by an imprint with a formal presence in the UK. Such an imprint will have the UK as its place of business; publish at least three titles a year; sell its titles in pounds sterling; make print editions of its books available via the UK book trade; and deposit a copy of each title it publishes with the British Library.

Publishers must be able to supply biographical details of the author(s) of each submitted book. Books written by anonymous authors will not be considered. 

The decision of the Prize Director as to whether a work is eligible shall be final and binding. No correspondence will be entered into.



a Publishers may enter up to three non-fiction titles per imprint with publication dates between 1 November 2018 and 31 October 2019. Finished copies or bound proofs only may be submitted.

b Submissions for all titles need to be made by 12 June 2019. Alongside this, publishers should send a high-resolution image of the book cover, and an electronic copy of the book to James Douglas at Four Culture ( | 020 3697 4267), who can provide assistance should you have any difficulties with your submission.

Please send three copies of each title submitted to James Douglas.

Four Culture

20 St Thomas Street

London SE1 9BF

c If the judges later call in other eligible books, the publishers will be asked to submit three copies of each book as above to Four Culture.

d Books may only be submitted by publishers. The submission of an author’s work by the publisher will be taken as agreement by the author that he/ she is willing for the submitted work to be considered and will abide by the rules of the prize.

e No books or proofs will be returned.

f There is no charge for entering, but by entering publishers of the shortlisted titles agree to contribute £3,000 each towards the prize and 15 extra copies of the book. The publisher of the winning book agree to contribute an additional £5,000.

g The judges’ decision is final. Neither discussion nor correspondence concerning any decision will be entered into.


a By entering the Prize publishers and authors of the shortlisted and winning titles are agreeing to co-operate actively in promoting the books and the prize. The winning title must display prominently the words ‘Winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction’ according to the brand guidelines unless otherwise agreed on the cover of all subsequent printings, including the paperback and on the cover of the ebook and audio edition.

b The Board of The Samuel Johnson Prize Limited reserves the right to refuse any entry for any reason considered justifiable, and reserves the right to vary the rules and conditions at any time as may be deemed necessary.