Clarke, Hodge and Paxman shortlisted for inaugural Parliamentary Book Awards

Clarke, Hodge and Paxman shortlisted for inaugural Parliamentary Book Awards

Books by politicians Ken Clarke, Alan Johnson and Margaret Hodge, broadcaster Jeremy Paxman and the former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis are among those shortlisted for the inaugural Parliamentary Book Awards.

The awards celebrate parliamentary writing and have been launched by the Booksellers Association and the Publishers Association with the aim of highlighting the contribution made by the book and publishing industries to the economy and society. They span four categories: Best Memoir by a Parliamentarian; Best Non-Fiction by a Parliamentarian; Best Fiction by a Parliamentarian; and Best Political Book by a non-Parliamentarian.

The shortlist for Best Memoir by a Parliamentarian comprises Hinterland: A Memoir by former Labour MP Chris Mullin (Profile), Kind of Blue by Ken Clarke (Pan Macmillan) and The Long and Winding Road by former home secretary Alan Johnson (Penguin).

In the running for Best Non-Fiction by a Parliamentarian are: Called to Account by Margaret Hodge (Little, Brown), scrutinising how much of the  money needed for public services is either misspent or, in the case of some corporate tax, not fully paid; Game of Spies by Paddy Ashdown (HarperCollins), a three-way spy story set in occupied France; and The Silent Deep: Royal Navy Submarine Service Since 1945 by Peter Hennessy and James Jinks (Allen Lane).

Up for Best Fiction by a Parliamentarian prize is Nadine Dorries' The Angel of Lovely Lane (Head of Zeus), about five very different nurses in 1953 Liverpool; Cometh the Hour by Jeffrey Archer (St. Martin's Press​), part of the Clifton Chronicles; and Now is the Time by Melvyn Bragg (Sceptre), an historical novel set in 1381, during the reign of Richard II. 

Paxman is shortlisted in the category for Best Political Book by a non-Parliamentarian for A Life in Questions (HarperCollins) with former Greek finance minister Varoufakis' And the Weak Suffer What They Must? (The Bodley Head) and John Bew's Citizen Clem (riverrun).

Tim Godfray, chief executive of the Booksellers Association, said: “I am always struck when meeting with parliamentarians just how many have either written a book or express a strong interest in doing so. It seems entirely fitting therefore that we are jointly sponsoring the inaugural Parliamentary Book Awards and Christmas Party with the PA. We would like to extent our thanks to our sponsor, Gisela Stuart MP. I know that there will be strong competition from some very well-known individuals this year.

"We expect all attendees to have a thoroughly enjoyable evening, celebrating all that is best about books, authors and publishing. However, at the same time, I hope that our attendees will take the time to reflect on the wider issues at stake in the book world. In order to continue as a vibrant, diverse industry, booksellers in particular need a fairer market to operate, they need a more nuanced understanding of their role in society from government, and they need an up to date regulatory framework in place to ensure that they are not carrying the can for taxes that could, and should, be paid by others.”



Stephen Lotinga, chief executive of the Publishers Association, said: “The link between publishing and politics can be traced throughout history, from Winston Churchill winning the Nobel Prize in Literature to Baroness Ruth Rendell’s crime thrillers and murder mysteries. These awards celebrate this long tradition which remains strong today. This is an excellent shortlist and we look forward to seeing which works emerge as favourites among parliamentarians themselves.”

Members of Parliament have been invited to vote on the ultimate winner in each category, with the winners to be unveiled at an event at the House of Commons on 6th December.