The Day Parliament Burned Down was named political book of the year at the Political Book Awards yesterday evening (6th February).
Caroline Shenton’s book, published by OUP, beat titles from Alastair Campbell and Nick Robinson to take the title at the inaugural awards, set up by Paddy Power and Total Politics.
Lord Ashcroft presented Shenton with a £10,000 prize. Mary Beard, one of the judges for the award alongside Lord Ashcroft, Chris Mullin, Keith Simpson MP, Carolyn Quinn and Adam Boulton, described the title as “microhistory at its best”.
Other winners at the awards, held last night at the BFI IMAX in London, include Ian Cobain, who picked up £3,000 for debut political book of the year with Cruel Britannia: A Secret History of Torture (Portobello Books).
Political biography of the year was won by W Sydney Robinson with Muckraker: The Scandalous Life and Times of WT Stead (Robson Books). Ian McEwan won political fiction book of the year with Sweet Tooth (Jonathan Cape).
Telegraph cartoonist Matthew Pritchett won the political humour/satire category with The Best of Matt 2012 (Orion), a collection of his cartoons. Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James A Robinson (Profile Books) picked up the international affairs award.
Journalist Nick Cohen won polemic of the year with You Can’t Read This Book (Fourth Estate), while Christopher Duggan won history book of the year with Fascist Voices (Bodley Head). HarperCollins picked up another accolade with Sherard Cowper-Coles’ Ever the Diplomat (HarperPress) winning political process book of the year.
Veteran politician Tony Benn won the lifetime achievement in political literature award, presented by former MP and diarist Chris Mullin.
Patrick Kennedy, c.e.o. of Paddy Power, said:”These awards celebrate the insight, wit and, in many cases, downright bravery of political authors who bring so much to the political debate. Our aim in this area has always been to spark debate and get people talking, as well as bringing a bit of fun to affairs of state, and we hope that the Paddy Power and Total Politics Political Book Awards will do just that on the UK political scene.”
Iain Dale, the creator of the awards, said: “These awards celebrate the fantastic breadth of political writing in the UK today. We hope that they will encourage more people both to write and read political literature, and that they will become an annual event in the publishing awards calendar."