Patrick Radden Keefe has won the UK’s prestigious 2021 Baillie Gifford Prize for his latest book Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, which investigates the legacy of the family behind Purdue Pharma, which produced and sold OxyContin and helped launch the opioid crisis. Empire of Pain was selected from a shortlist of six; Keefe will take home £50,000.
“We were completely bowled over as a group of judges by Empire of Pain. By its moral rigor, its controlled fury, its exhaustive research, the skillful writing, the bravery it took to write it. Above all, though, by its sheer propulsive narrative energy,” said chair of judges Andrew Holgate. “This is journalism as outstanding literature, and what we have here is a future classic.”
Here’s more from the judges on the book: