Samuel Johnson Prize
|The Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction|
The 2012 logo of the prize along with its motto
"All the best stories are true"
|Awarded for||Excellence in non-fiction writing|
|Currently held by||The Pike by Lucy Hughes-Hallett|
The Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction is an annual British prize for the best non-fiction writing in the English language. It was founded in 1999 following the demise of the NCR Book Award and based on an anonymous donation. The prize is named after the English 18th-century littérateur Samuel Johnson. With its motto "All the best stories are true", the prize covers current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts. The competition is open to authors of any nationality whose work is published in the UK in English.
From its inception until 2008 the award was fully named The BBC FOUR Samuel Johnson Prize and managed by BBC Four. In 2009 it was renamed as BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and managed by BBC Two. The new name reflected the BBC’s commitment to broadcasting coverage of the Prize on BBC 2, The Culture Show. Prior to the name change in 2009, the monetary prize amount was GB£30,000 for the winner, and each finalist received £2500. After 2009 the monetary prize was £20,000 for the winner, and each finalist received £1000. In February 2012, the steering committee for the prize announced that a new sponsor had been found for the prize, an anonymous philanthropist, and that the prize was to be raised to £25,000.
The longlist, which was announced on 6 September 2013, featured 18 books. The Guardian reported that this year, judges showed a preference for history and biography, at the expense of works in science. On 30 September, judges announced the shortlist.
- David Crane, Empires of the Dead
- William Dalrymple, Return of a King
- Dave Goulson, A Sting In The Tale
- Charlotte Higgins, Under Another Sky
- Charles Moore, Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography
- Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Slum
- Robert Macfarlane, The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot
- Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity
- Paul Preston, The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain
- Sue Prideaux, Strindberg: A Life
- Andrew Graham-Dixon, Caravaggio: A Life Sacred And Profane (bio of Caravaggio)
- Maya Jasanoff, Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World
- Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves
- Jonathan Steinberg, Bismarck: A Life (biography of Otto von Bismarck)
- John Stubbs, Reprobates: The Cavaliers of the English Civil War
- Alex Bellos, Alex's Adventures in Numberland: Dispatches from the Wonderful World of Mathematics
- Luke Jennings, Blood Knots: On Fathers, Friendship and Fishing
- Andrew Ross Sorkin, Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System—and Themselves
- Jenny Uglow, A Gambling Man: Charles II and the Restoration
- Richard Wrangham, Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human
The longlist was announced 14 May 2009. The shortlist was announced in late May. The judges announced the winner of the prize at an awards event at King's Place, London on 30 June. The monetary prize for 2009 was £20,000 for the winner, and each finalist receives £1000.
- Liaquat Ahamed, Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
- Ben Goldacre, Bad Science
- David Grann, The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
- Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
- Manjit Kumar, Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality
The winner was Kate Summerscale for The Suspicions of Mr Whicher Or The Murder at Road Hill House
- Tim Butcher, Blood River: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart
- Mark Cocker, Crow Country
- Orlando Figes, The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia
- Patrick French, The World Is What It Is: The Authorised Biography of VS Naipaul
- Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century
The winner was Rajiv Chandrasekaran for Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone
- Ian Buruma, Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo Van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance
- Peter Hennessey, Having it so Good: Britain in the Fifties
- Georgina Howell, Daughter of the Desert: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell (about Gertrude Bell)
- Dominic Streatfeild, Brainwash: The Secret History of Mind Control
- Adrian Tinniswood, The Verneys: A True Story of Love, War, and Madness in Seventeenth-Century England
The winner was James S. Shapiro for 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare
- Alan Bennett, Untold Stories
- Jerry Brotton, The Sale of the Late King's Goods: Charles I and his Art Collection
- Carmen Callil, Bad Faith: A Forgotten History of Family & Fatherland
- Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945
- Tom Reiss, The Orientalist: In Search of a Man Caught between East and West
- Alexander Masters, Stuart: A Life Backwards
- Suketu Mehta, Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found
- Orhan Pamuk, Istanbul: Memories and the City
- Hilary Spurling, Matisse the Master: The Conquest of Colour 1909-1954 (about Henri Matisse)
- Sarah Wise, The Italian Boy: Murder and Grave-Robbery in 1830s London
- Anne Applebaum, Gulag: A History of the Soviet Camps
- Jonathan Bate, John Clare: A Biography (about John Clare)
- Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything
- Aidan Hartley, The Zanzibar Chest: A Memoir of Love and War
- Tom Holland, Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic
- Orlando Figes, Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia
- Aminatta Forna, The Devil that Danced on the Water: A Daughter's Memoir of her Father, her Family, her Country and a Continent
- Olivia Judson, Dr Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation: The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex
- Claire Tomalin, Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self (about Samuel Pepys)
- Edgar Vincent, Nelson: Love and Fame (about Lord Nelson)
- Eamon Duffy, The Voices of Morebath: Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village
- William Fiennes, The Snow Geese
- Richard Hamblyn, The Invention of Clouds: How an Amateur Meteorologist Forged the Language of the Skies
- Roy Jenkins, Churchill: a Biography (about Winston Churchill)
- Brendan Simms, Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia
The winner was Michael Burleigh for The Third Reich: A New History
- Richard Fortey, Trilobite!: Eyewitness to Evolution
- Catherine Merridale, Night of Stone: Death and Memory in Russia
- Graham Robb, Rimbaud (about Arthur Rimbaud)
- Simon Sebag Montefiore, Prince of Princes: The Life of Potemkin (about Grigory Potemkin)
- Robert Skidelsky, John Maynard Keynes: Fighting for Britain, 1937–1946 (about John Maynard Keynes)
- Tony Hawks, Playing the Moldovans at Tennis
- Brenda Maddox, Yeats's Ghosts: The Secret Life of W.B. Yeats (about W. B. Yeats)
- Matt Ridley, Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters
- William Shawcross, Deliver us from Evil: Warlords, Peacekeepers and a World of Endless Conflict
- Francis Wheen, Karl Marx (about Karl Marx)
- Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1889–1936: Hubris (about Adolf Hitler)
- Ann Wroe, Pilate: The Biography of an Invented Man (about Pontius Pilate)
- John Diamond, C: Because Cowards Get Cancer Too
- Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Darker Reflections (about Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
- David Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations
- English literature
- British literature
- List of years in literature
- List of prizes
- Prizes named after people
- About the prize, Samuel Johnson Prize official website. "The UK’s most Prestigious non-fiction award".
- The 2009 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, 17 April 2009
- "The Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction announces a new sponsor". 17 February 2012.
- "Science dominates Samuel Johnson prize longlist", The Guardian, 14 May 2009. "..the UK's most prestigious non-fiction award.."
- Mark Brown (November 4, 2013). "Biography of Italian fascist wins Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction". The Guardian. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- Liz Bury (6 September 2013). "Samuel Johnson prize longlist: history comes first as judges take the long view". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
- Charlotte Higgins (30 September 2013). "Samuel Johnson prize 2013 shortlist – in pictures". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
- Alison Flood (12 November 2012). "Into the Silence author Wade Davis wins Samuel Johnson award". The Guardian. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
- Alison Flood (17 September 2012). "Rushdie memoir heads Samuel Johnson prize longlist". The Guardian. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
- Alison Flood (5 October 2012). "Six books to 'change our view of the world' on shortlist for non-fiction prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- Flood, Alison (6 July 2011). "Samuel Johnson prize won by 'hugely important' study of Mao". The Guardian.
- "2011 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize For Non-fiction Shortlist announced", 14 June 2011.
- "BBC SAMUEL JOHNSON LONGLIST ANNOUNCED"
- "FROM ANGLING TO ANGLES, BBC SAMUEL JOHNSON SHORTLIST ‘DEFIES SIMPLISTIC CATEGORISATION’"
- 2009 Longlist