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The Mystery of Charles Dickens has been named the best biography of the year.

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May 17, 2021, 10:33am

At this weekend’s annual conference of Biographers International Organization, A.N. Wilson’s The Mystery of Charles Dickens (HarperCollins) was awarded the BIO Plutarch Award—an award celebrating the best biography of the last year published in English, as chosen from nominations received by publishers and BIO members.

The Mystery of Charles Dickens was chosen from five other finalists: Les Payne and Tamara Payne’s The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X; Jonathan Alter’s His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, A Life; Ted Widmer’s Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington; and Martha Ackmann’s These Fevered Days: Ten Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson. Said Kate Buford, chair of the Plutarch Committee, “During an unprecedented year marked by political upheavals, the COVID pandemic and many publishing challenges, we were struck by the compelling humanity and deft artistry of Wilson’s biography. It is a biographer’s biography.”

A Special Citation was given to Eddie S. Glaude Jr’s Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, in recognition of “its summoning of Baldwin’s penetrating voice and eyes that remind us of the post-Civil War and post-civil rights betrayals of racial justice.”

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