Shortlist announced for the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography 2018

Martin Reed

Martin Reed

Martin leads the SoA's Communications team. He oversees our strategic communications and campaign-based activities, including PR, social media, events and partnerships.
The Society of Authors is delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2018 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography.

Established in 2003 in affectionate memory of Elizabeth Longford, the acclaimed biographer, and sponsored by Flora Fraser and Peter Soros, the prize is awarded annually for a historical biography published in the preceding year.

The five shortlisted writers and the titles of their novels are:

  • Be Like The Fox: Machiavelli’s Lifelong Quest For Freedom by Erica Benner (Allen Lane)
  • The Tartan Turban: In Search of Alexander Gardner by John Keay (Kashi House)
  • Lenin the Dictator: An Intimate Portrait by Victor Sebestyen (Weidenfeld and Nicolson)
  • Isabella of Castile: Europe’s First Great Queen by Giles Tremlett (Bloomsbury)
  • Becoming Hitler: The Making of a Nazi by Thomas Weber (Oxford University Press)

The judges this year are Richard Davenport-Hines, Roy Foster (Chair), Antonia Fraser, Flora Fraser and Munro Price.

Commenting on this year’s shortlist, Roy Foster said:

The shortlist for the 2018 Elizabeth Longford Prize suggests that historical biography is a flourishing and expanding genre. Lives which seemed well-examined, such as Hitler’s and Lenin’s, have been put under the microscope from a new angle, and emerge altered; Machiavelli’s developing political thought  is woven audaciously and convincingly into the story of his life; the extraordinary and  sometimes chilling achievements of Queen Isabella are shown  as the epic background to Spain’s Golden Age; and the multiple lives of a legendary and self-fabulizing adventurer are tracked through early nineteenth-century India with the skills of  a tenacious detective.  Each of these books combines a compelling narrative with original biographical scholarship, in the tradition of previous winners of the Prize, and of the historian-biographer whom it commemorates.

The winner will be announced on 15 May and will presented with their £5,000 award at the SoA’s annual Authors Awards and Summer Party on 19 July.


For full details on the shortlist and the press release, please click here.


Winner announced – 15 May

Awards ceremony – 19 July