Shortlist for the 2019 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography

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 2019 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 four shortlisted writers and the titles of their novels are:

  • A Certain Idea of France: The Life of Charles de Gaulle by Julian Jackson (Allen Lane)
  • Thomas Cromwell: A Life by Diarmaid MacCulloch (Allen Lane)
  • Churchill: Walking with Destiny by Andrew Roberts (Allen Lane)
  • The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart (Oxford University Press)

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

Commenting on this year’s shortlist, the Chair of Judges, Roy Foster said:

The shortlist of the 2019 Elizabeth Longford Historical Biography Prize highlights new perspectives on four people who changed the life of their country. Julian Jackson’s A Certain Idea of France: The Life of Charles de Gaulle is a masterly delineation of a ruler who epitomised France as powerfully as Louis XIV or Napoleon; Diarmaid MacCulloch’s Thomas Cromwell illuminates the man who did more than anyone else to establish Henry VIII’s new state; Andrew Roberts’ Churchill takes a new look at a controversial titan who unexpectedly came to represent England at a dark hour; and Jeffrey C. Stewart’s The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke reveals an ignored chapter of Black American history through an extraordinary figure who crossed all manner of boundaries in an exemplary twentieth-century life. These biographies demonstrate how four remarkable people not only made their own history, but sensed the zeitgeist and came to personify it – which is exactly the kind of insight provided by the work of Elizabeth Longford, whom this Prize commemorates.

The winner will be announced on 8 May and will be presented with the £5,000 award at the Society of Authors’ Awards and Summer Party on 17 June.

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