The UK literary prizes are still coming in hot! Today, the Baillie Gifford Prize announced its 2020 shortlist. The award, founded in 1999 following the end of the NCR Book Award for Nonfiction, celebrates the best non-fiction writing in the English language of the year. The honor comes with £50,000, and each of the shortlisted authors will receive £1,000. Previous winners include Hallie Rubenhold, Serhii Plokhii, and David France.
Martha Kearney, the chair of judges, said the following of the shortlist: “In 2020 we certainly learned that truth is stranger than fiction and our shortlist shows the sheer power of real life stories. From brain science to Beatlemania, Shoguns to suburban poltergeists, sex slavery to slave rebellions, this is our eclectic lockdown library.”
According to the press release, the shortlist was selected by a panel chaired by BBC Radio 4 Today presenters Martha Kearney and Shahidha Bari, novelist Simon Ings, New Statesman writer Leo Robson, New York Times opinion editor Max Strasser and journalist and author Bee Wilson.
The winner of the 2020 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction will be announced in a live virtual celebration, generously supported by the Blavatnik Family Foundation, on Tuesday November 24 at 6pm GMT. Congrats to all!
2020 Baillie Gifford Prize for Nonfiction Shortlist
Craig Brown, One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time
Matthew Cobb, The Idea of the Brain: A History
Sudhir Hazareesingh, Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture
Christina Lamb, Our Bodies, Their Battlefield: What War Does to Women
Kate Summerscale, The Haunting of Alma Fielding: A True Ghost Story