Elizabeth Longford Prize

Celebrating historical biography

The Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography, sponsored by Flora Fraser and Peter Soros, was established in 2003 in affectionate memory of Elizabeth Longford, the acclaimed biographer. The prize celebrates, annually, a historical biography which, like hers, combines scholarship and narrative drive. 

This prize is no longer administered by the Society of Authors. For more information please visit the ELHB website.

2021 Winner

The winner of the 2021 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography was Fredrik Logevall for JFK Volume One (Penguin).

Fredrik Logevall is the Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School and Professor of History at Harvard University. A specialist on US foreign relations history and modern international history, he was previously the Anbinder Professor of History at Cornell University. Before that he taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he co-founded the Center for Cold War Studies. Logevall is the author or editor of ten books, most recently Embers of War, which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for History and the 2013 Francis Parkman Prize, as well as the 2013 American Library in Paris Book Award and the 2013 Arthur Ross Book Award from the Council on Foreign Relations.

“Logevall’s JFK Volume One illuminates Boston-Irish culture, the moneyed American elite, and the youthful Kennedy’s fascination with politics in Europe as well as the USA. Clear-eyed about his subject’s faults as well as his charisma, the author paints a compelling portrait of a political phenomenon in the making. Kennedy is shown to be both more aspirational and more independent of his father than previously supposed. In the tradition of the Elizabeth Longford Prize this is high-octane historical biography, placing a major subject in a new and arresting light.”

Chair of Judges, Roy Foster

2021 Shortlist

  • Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture by Sudhir Hazareesingh (Allen King)
  • Something of Themselves: Kipling, Kingsley, Conan Doyle and the Anglo-Boer War by Sarah LeFanu (Hurst)
  • A Dominant Character: The Radical Science and Restless Politics of J.B.S Haldane by Samanth Subramanian (Atlantic)

Elizabeth Longford (1906-2002) was born Elizabeth Harman. She married Frank Pakenham, later Earl of Longford, in 1931. She was a celebrated biographer and historian and continued to write well into her nineties. Her many publications include Victoria RI (1964), Wellington: The Years of the Sword (1969), and Wellington: Pillar of State (1972).

For more information, please visit the ELHB website


Fredrik Logevall for JFK: Vol 1 (Viking) £5,000


D W. Hayton for Conservative Revolutionary: The Lives of Lewis Namier (Manchester University Press) £5,000


Julian Jackson for A Certain Idea of France: The Life of Charles de Gaulle (Allen Lane) £5,000


Giles Tremlett for Isabella of Castile: Europe’s First Great Queen (Bloomsbury) £5,000


John Bew for Citizen Clem (riverrun / Quercus) £5,000


Andrew Gailey for The Lost Imperialist – Lord Dufferin, Memory and Mythmaking in an Age of Celebrity (John Murray) £5,000


Ben Macintyre for A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal (Bloomsbury) £5,000


Charles Moore for Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, Volume 1: Not For Turning (Allen Lane) £5,000


Anne Somerset for Queen Anne (Harper Press) £5,000


Frances Wilson for How to Survive The Titanic (Bloomsbury) £5,000


Philip Ziegler for Edward Heath – The Authorised Biography (HarperPress) £5,000


Tristram Hunt for The Frock-Coated Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels (Allen Lane) £5,000


Mark Bostridge for Florence Nightingale: The Woman and Her Legend (Viking) £5,000


Rosemary Hill for God’s Architect – Pugin and the Building of Romantic Britain (Allen Lane) £5,000


Jessie Childs for Henry VIII’s Last Victim – The Life and Times of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (Cape) £3,000


Charles Williams for Pétain (Little, Brown) £3,000


Ian Kershaw for Making Friends with Hitler: Lord Londonderry and Britain’s Road to War (Penguin Allen Lane) £3,000


Katie Whitaker for Mad Madge: Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, Royalist, Writer and Romantic (Chatto & Windus) £3,000


David Gilmour for The Long Recessional: The Imperial Life of Rudyard Kipling (John Murray) £3,000