6 books compete for nonfiction ‘winner of winners’ prize


LONDON — Books that discover topics from William Shakespeare and The Beatles to the lure of Mount Everest and life inside one of many world’s most secretive states are competing to be named the all time winner of Britain’s main nonfiction guide prize.

The Baillie Gifford Prize is marking its twenty fifth yr with a Winner of Winners prize. Three American writers, two from Canada and one from Britain are on the shortlist introduced Thursday for the 25,000 pound ($30,000) trophy.

The prize was launched in 1999 to reward English-language books from any nation in present affairs, historical past, politics, science, sport, journey, biography, autobiography and the humanities.

Judges have chosen six of the 24 previous winners of the award — identified till 2015 because the Samuel Johnson Prize — as finalists for the one-off accolade. The winner will likely be introduced April 27 at a ceremony in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The eclectic shortlist consists of cultural kaleidoscope “One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time” by Craig Brown, the one U.Ok. author on the record. Books by Canadians are Wade Davis’ mountaineering odyssey “Into the Silence” and Margaret MacMillan’s historical past of the post-World War I peace talks, “Paris 1919.”

The U.S. finalists are Barbara Demick’s “Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea”; Patrick Radden Keefe’s “Empire of Pain,” in regards to the Sackler household and its hyperlinks to the opioid disaster; and James Shapiro’s “1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare.”

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Just two of the six books are by ladies, reflecting a historic imbalance in nonfiction publishing that prize organizers say is being rectified. In the previous decade, 40% of the prize winners have been ladies.

Editor Jason Cowley, chair of the judging panel mentioned that regardless of their disparate subjects, “there is a family resemblance” among the many six books.

He mentioned the works mix literary distinction with “a kind of formal innovation.”

“All the books are very good at conveying what Hilary Mantel called the atmospheric pressure of the times,” he mentioned.

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