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Awarded for Excellence in non-fiction writing
Country United Kingdom
Reward(s) £50,000
First awarded 1999
Currently held by Chernobyl by Serhii Plokhii
Website thebailliegiffordprize.co.uk

The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction (formerly the Samuel Johnson Prize from 1999 to 2015) is an annual British book prize for the best non-fiction writing in the English language. It was founded in 1999 following the demise of the NCR Book Award. 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.[1] The longlist, shortlist and winner is chosen by a panel of independent judges, which changes every year. The award is named for Baillie Gifford, an investment management firm and the primary sponsor. Since 2016, the annual dinner and awards ceremony has been sponsored by the Blavatnik Family Foundation.

The prize is governed by the Board of Directors of The Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction Limited, a not-for-profit company. Since 2018, the Chair of the Board has been Sir Peter Bazalgette, who succeeded Stuart Proffitt, the Chair since 1999. In 2015, Toby Mundy was appointed as the Prize's first director.[2]

Contents

HistoryEdit

Prior to the establishment of the Samuel Johnson Prize, Britain's premier literary award for non-fiction was the NCR Book Award which had been established in 1987.[3] In 1997, the NCR Award experienced a scandal when it was revealed the judges, many of them chosen for their popularity rather than literary qualities, had used "ghost readers" and were not expected to read the books they voted on.[4] Because of this and other problems the award ceased operations.[4] In response, one of the previous winners of NCR Award, the historian Peter Hennessy, approached Stuart Proffitt, a Publishing Director at Penguin Press, with the idea for a new award. An anonymous benefactor was found who funded the establishment of the Prize,[3] which was named after the English 18th-century author and lexicographer Samuel Johnson.

From its inception through 2001, the prize was independently financed by the founding benefactor.[3] In 2002, it was taken over by the BBC and re-named the BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize and managed by BBC Four.[3] In 2009, the name was amended to the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction[5] and managed by BBC Two. The new name reflected the BBC's commitment to broadcasting coverage of the Prize on the BBC2 programme, The Culture Show.[5] In 2016, the name was changed to the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, after its new primary sponsor, the Edinburgh-based investment management company Baillie Gifford.[6]

Prior to the 2009 name change, the winner received £30,000, and each finalist received £2,500. After 2009, the award was £20,000 for the winner, and each finalist received £1,000.[5] In February 2012, the steering committee for the prize announced that a new sponsor had been found for the prize, an anonymous philanthropist, enabling the prize money to be raised to £25,000.[7] In 2015, funding for the prize was arranged by the Blavatnik Family Foundation, while the organisers sought new primary sponsors from 2016 onwards.[8]

In 2016, under new sponsors Baillie Gifford, the prize money was restored to £30,000 for the winner.

In 2019, following the announcement that Baillie Gifford will sponsor the award until at least 2026, the prize money was increased to £50,000.[9]

It is widely recognised as the UK's most prestigious award for non-fiction authors.[10]

Winners and shortlistsEdit

A blue ribbon ( ) denotes the winner.

2010sEdit

2018Edit

  • Hannah Fry, Hello World: How to be Human in The Age of The Machine
  • Ben Macintyre, The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War
  • Thomas Page McBee, Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man
  • Stephen Platt, Imperial Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China’s Last Golden Age
  •   Serhii Plokhii, Chernobyl: History of A Tragedy[11]
  • Carl Zimmer, She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions and Potential of Heredity

The longlist was not publicly announced.[12] The shortlist was announced on 2 October 2018.[13] The 2018 judging panel was chaired by The Economist’s culture correspondent, Fiammetta Rocco, with Stephen Bush, journalist and political commentator; Susan Brigden, historian; Anne-Marie Imafidon, mathematician and campaigner; and Nigel Warburton, philosopher.

2017Edit

The longlist was announced on 8 September[15] and the shortlist was announced on 6 October.[16] The 2017 judging panel was chaired by chaired by author and Chairman of ITV Sir Peter Bazalgette, together with Anjana Ahuja, science writer; Ian Bostridge, tenor and writer; Professor Sarah Churchwell, academic and writer and Razia Iqbal, journalist and broadcaster.

2016Edit

The longlist was announced on 21 September[18] and the shortlist was announced on 17 October.[19] The 2016 judging panel was chaired by former BBC Economics Editor Stephanie Flanders, together with Philip Ball, science writer and author; Jonathan Derbyshire, executive comment editor of the Financial Times; Dr Sophie Ratcliffe, scholar, writer and literary critic and Rohan Silva, co-founder of the social enterprise, Second Home.

2015Edit

  •   Steve Silberman, Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently[20]
  • Jonathan Bate, Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life
  • Robert Macfarlane, Landmarks
  • Laurence Scott, The Four-Dimensional Human: Ways of Being in the Digital World
  • Emma Sky, The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq
  • Samanth Subramanian, This Divided Island: Stories from the Sri Lankan Civil War

The longlist for the 2015 prize was announced on 22 September[21] and the shortlist was announced on 11 October.[22] The 2015 judging panel was chaired by Pulitzer prize-winning historian and journalist Anne Applebaum, together with Editor of Intelligent Life Emma Duncan, Editor of New Scientist Sumit Paul-Choudhury, Director of China Centre at Oxford University Professor Rana Mitter and former Controller of Film and Drama and Head of Film 4 Tessa Ross.

2014Edit

The longlist was announced on 1 September 2014.[24] The shortlist was announced on 8 October 2014.[25] The 2014 judging panel was chaired by author and historian Claire Tomalin, accompanied by Alan Johnson MP, Financial Times Books Editor Lorien Kite, philosopher Ray Monk and historian Ruth Scurr.

2013Edit

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.[27] On 30 September, judges announced the shortlist.[28] The 2013 judging panel was chaired by the cosmologist and Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, accompanied by classical historian Mary Beard, director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti, historian Peter Hennessy and the writer and critic James McConnachie.[29]

2012Edit

The longlist was announced 17 September 2012,[31] the shortlist was announced 5 October.[32] The winner was announced 12 November. The monetary prize for 2012 was £20,000 for the winner.[30] The judges were David Willetts, Patrick French, Paul Laity, Bronwen Maddox, Raymond Tallis.

2011Edit

The longlist was announced April 2011.[34][35] The shortlist was announced 14 June 2011.[36] The judges were David Goodhart, Sam Leith, Ben Macintyre, Brenda Maddox, Amanda Vickery.

2010Edit

The longlist was announced 22 April 2010.[38] The shortlist was announced 26 May.[39] The judges were Evan Davis, Jan Dalley, Daniel Finkelstein, Roger Highfield, Stella Tillyard.

2000sEdit

2009Edit

The longlist was announced 14 May 2009.[41][10] The shortlist was announced in late May.[42] 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.[5] The judges were Mark Lythgoe, Tim Marlow, Munira Mirza, Sarah Sands, Jacob Weisberg.

2008Edit

The longlist was announced on 16 April 2008,[44] the shortlist on 15 May 2008,[45] and the winner on 15 July 2008. The judges were Claire Armitstead, Daljit Nagra, Chris Rapley, Hannah Rothschild, Rosie Boycott.

2007Edit

The longlist[47] and shortlist were announced in late 2007.[48] The judges were Helena Kennedy, Diana Athill, Jim Al-Khalili, Tristram Hunt, Mark Lawson.

2006Edit

The longlist was announced 27 March 2006[50] and shortlist was announced 24 May 2006.[51] The judges were Robert Winston, Sir Richard Eyre, Pankaj Mishra, Cristina Odone, Michael Prodger.

2005Edit

The longlist was announced 20 April 2005[52] and shortlist was announced 12 May 2005.[53] The judges were Marcus du Sautoy, Andrew Holgate, Maria Misra, John Simpson, Sue MacGregor.

2004Edit

The longlist was announced 19 March 2004[54] and later the shortlist.[55] The judges were Aminatta Forna, Martha Kearney, Simon Singh, Francis Wheen, Michael Wood.

2003Edit

The longlist was announced 1 April 2003[56] and the shortlist on 2 May 2003.[57] The judges were Michael Portillo, Tim Radford, Andrew Roberts, Fiammetta Rocco, Rosie Boycott.

2002Edit

The longlist was announced 21 May 2002[58] and the shortlist was announced 6 June 2002.[59] The judges were Richard Fortey, Caroline Gascoigne, Bonnie Greer, Robert Harris, David Dimbleby.

2001Edit

The shortlist was announced 23 May 2001.[60] The judges were Niall Ferguson, Steve Jones, Annalena McAfee, Suzanna Taverne, Andrew Marr.

2000Edit

The shortlist.[61] The judges were Stephen Fry, Timothy Garton Ash, Susan Greenfield, Baroness Helena Kennedy, Nigella Lawson.

1990sEdit

1999Edit

The shortlist.[62] The judges were Cherie Booth, Orlando Figes, Kate Summerscale, James Naughtie.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ "About the prize". Samuel Johnson Prize. Archived from the original on 4 July 2008. The UK's most Prestigious non-fiction award
  2. ^ "Directors | The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction". thebailliegiffordprize.co.uk. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Antony Beevor (29 June 2008). "The BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b Robert McCrum (16 June 2001). "A life of the Samuel Johnson Prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d "The 2009 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction". Samuel Johnson Prize. 17 April 2009. Archived from the original on 1 April 2010.
  6. ^ Douglas, James (23 May 2016). "Samuel Johnson Prize sets sights globally under new sponsorship deal". The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  7. ^ "The Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction announces a new sponsor". Samuel Johnson Prize. 17 February 2012. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012.
  8. ^ "Samuel Johnson seeks a new sponsor". London Evening Standard. 27 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Increase in prize money to £50,000 and 2019 judges have been announced | The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction". thebailliegiffordprize.co.uk. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  10. ^ a b Alison Flood (14 May 2009). "Science dominates Samuel Johnson prize longlist". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 October 2018. ..the UK's most prestigious non-fiction award..
  11. ^ "Serhii Plokhy's Chernobyl wins The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, 2018". Baillie Gifford Prize. 14 November 2018. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  12. ^ "Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction announces judging panel and opens submissions". Baillie Gifford Prize. 2018. Retrieved 8 October 2018. The 2018 longlist will not be announced, while the shortlist will be revealed in October.
  13. ^ "The Baillie Gifford Prize 2018 announces shortlist". Baillie Gifford Prize. 2 October 2018. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  14. ^ "How to Survive a Plague wins The Baillie Gifford Prize 2017". Baillie Gifford Prize. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  15. ^ "The Baillie Gifford Prize 2017 announces longlist". Baillie Gifford Prize. 8 September 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  16. ^ "The Baillie Gifford Prize 2017 announces shortlist". Baillie Gifford Prize. 6 October 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  17. ^ Alison Flood. "Philippe Sands wins the 2016 Baillie Gifford prize for nonfiction". The Guardian. 15 November 2016.
  18. ^ The Guardian (20 September 2016). "Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich heads longlist for UK's top nonfiction award". Alison Flood. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  19. ^ Maev Kennedy (16 October 2016). "First-hand reporting dominates Baillie Gifford shortlist". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  20. ^ "'Gripping' autism book wins Samuel Johnson prize". BBC News Online. 2 November 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  21. ^ "Contentious Ted Hughes book makes Samuel Johnson Prize longlist". BBC News Online. 22 September 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  22. ^ "The 2015 Shortlist". The Samuel Johnson Prize. 11 October 2015. Archived from the original on 14 February 2016.
  23. ^ Clark, Nick. "Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction: Helen Macdonald wins with 'H is for Hawk'". The Independent. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  24. ^ Alison Flood (1 September 2014). "Samuel Johnson prize 2014 longlist spotlights memoirs". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  25. ^ Alison Flood (8 October 2014). "Samuel Johnson prize 2014 shortlist: two memoirs are among the 'uplifting' and 'compelling' finalists". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  26. ^ Mark Brown (4 November 2013). "Biography of Italian fascist wins Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  27. ^ Liz Bury (6 September 2013). "Samuel Johnson prize longlist: history comes first as judges take the long view". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  28. ^ Charlotte Higgins (30 September 2013). "Samuel Johnson prize 2013 shortlist – in pictures". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  29. ^ "Rees to chair Samuel Johnson". 23 April 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  30. ^ a b Alison Flood (12 November 2012). "Into the Silence author Wade Davis wins Samuel Johnson award". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  31. ^ Alison Flood (17 September 2012). "Rushdie memoir heads Samuel Johnson prize longlist". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ Flood, Alison (6 July 2011). "Samuel Johnson prize won by 'hugely important' study of Mao". The Guardian.
  34. ^ "2011 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize For Non-fiction Longlist announced". Samuel Johnson Prize. 1 April 2011. Archived from the original on 18 January 2012.
  35. ^ Allison Flood (15 April 2011). "Biography dominates Samuel Johnson Prize longlist". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 19 April 2011.
  36. ^ "2011 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize For Non-fiction Shortlist announced". Samuel Johnson Prize. 14 June 2011. Archived from the original on 28 June 2012.
  37. ^ "Gripping account of an Orwellian Society wins £20,000 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize 2010 for non-fiction". thesamueljohnsonprize.co.uk. 1 July 2010. Archived from the original on 5 May 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  38. ^ "BBC Samuel Johnson Longlist Announced". Samuel Johnson Prize. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012.
  39. ^ "From Angling to Angles, BBC Samuel Johnson Shortlist Defies Simplistic Categorisation". Samuel Johnson Prize. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012.
  40. ^ "'Leviathan, or The Whale' by Philip Hoare wins £20,000 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize". thesamueljohnsonprize.co.uk. 30 June 2009. Archived from the original on 13 February 2012.
  41. ^ "2009 Longlist. BBC Samuel Johnson longlist announced". Samuel Johnson Prize. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012.
  42. ^ "Science and Exploration Dominate Samuel Johnson Prize Shortlist". thesamueljohnsonprize.co.uk. 22 May 2009. Archived from the original on 15 February 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  43. ^ "2008 Winner Announced". Samuel Johnson Prize. 15 July 2008. Archived from the original on 13 February 2012.
  44. ^ "2008 Longlist Announced". Samuel Johnson Prize. 16 April 2008. Archived from the original on 13 February 2012.
  45. ^ "2008 Shortlist Announced". Samuel Johnson Prize. 15 May 2008. Archived from the original on 12 March 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  46. ^ "2007 Winner Announced". Samuel Johnson Prize. 18 June 2007. Archived from the original on 5 January 2008.
  47. ^ "BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize Longlist". BBC Four. Archived from the original on 14 May 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  48. ^ "BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize Longlist". BBC Four. Archived from the original on 25 September 2008.
  49. ^ a b c d e f g h "Previous Winners of the Samuel Johnson Prize". BBC Four. 1 December 2008. Archived from the original on 5 October 2008.
  50. ^ John Ezard (27 March 2006). "Iraqi woman's Baghdad blog in the running for £30,000 book prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  51. ^ John Ezard (24 May 2006). "Bestselling Bennett heads prize shortlist". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  52. ^ Michelle Pauli (20 April 2005). "Samuel Johnson longlist celebrates variety". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  53. ^ Michelle Pauli (12 May 2005). "First-timers triumph on Samuel Johnson shortlist". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  54. ^ John Ezard (19 March 2004). "Non-fiction award goes cold on war". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  55. ^ "The Samuel Johnson Prize 2004". The Samuel Johnson Prize. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  56. ^ Michelle Pauli (1 April 2003). "Quirky tomes in richest non-fiction prize race". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  57. ^ John Ezard (2 May 2003). "Sex manual for the birds and bees - and flies - is up for prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  58. ^ Emma Yates (21 May 2002). "Longlist for lucrative prize announced". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  59. ^ Tania Branigan (6 June 2002). "Six writers shortlisted for £30,000 award". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  60. ^ Fiachra Gibbon (23 May 2001). "Trilobites edge Amis out of running for Samuel Johnson award". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  61. ^ "The Samuel Johnson Prize 2000". The Samuel Johnson Prize. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  62. ^ "The Samuel Johnson Prize 1999". The Samuel Johnson Prize. Retrieved 5 October 2018.

External linksEdit