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Wilson wins Elizabeth Longford Prize
01.05.12 | Katie Allen
Frances Wilson’s “tour de force” How to Survive the Titanic or The Sinking of J Bruce Ismay has won the 2012 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography.
The critic, journalist and author of Literary Seductions, The Courtesan’s Revenge and The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth will be awarded the £5,000 prize on 14th July.
Chair of judges professor Roy Foster said the decision was unanimous. “[The book] required acute psychological insight, the ability to balance conflicting evidence, a judicious sense of empathy with a dislikeable subject, and a powerful but disciplined historical imagination—as well as the ability to find and pursue fascinating sources," he said.
"Frances Wilson possesses all these qualities, and has used them with scrupulous panache to create a tour de force.”
The Bloomsbury title follows the life of J Bruce Ismay, owner of the Titanic and inheritor of the White Star fortune, who jumped into a lifeboat with the women and children and rowed away to safety—destroying his reputation in the process.
The Elizabeth Longford Prize, administered by the Society of Authors, is sponsored by Flora Fraser and Peter Soros in memory of the eponymous biographer.