Bart van Es has won this year’s £2,500 Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize for The Cut Out Girl.
The prize was presented at the The Biographers’ Club drinks reception in Maggs Bros, London, yesterday evening (26th February) and follows on from the Fig Tree publication’s win of the Costa Book of the Year Award.
His book tells the story of Lien, a young Jewish girl in Holland, who was hidden from the Nazis and fostered by Bart van Es' own grandparents, who were part of the Dutch resistance.
It saw off competition from Michèle Mendelssohn’s Making Oscar Wilde (OUP), A Spy Named Orphan by Roland Philipps, (Bodley Head), Fiona Sampson’s In Search of Mary Shelley (Profile) and Tara Westover’s Educated (Hutchinson).
Anne Chisholm, who judged the prize with Rachel Cooke and Andre O’Hagan, said: “The winner, The Cut Out Girl by Bart van Es, was chosen unanimously but not without passionate debate.
"This book, with its delicate interweaving of history, family memoir and personal encounters, succeeds in conveying the harsh reality of holocaust survival through one young girl’s experience, in occupied Holland, of the extremes – good as well as evil – of which ordinary people are capable.”
The Prize is awarded to the best book published by a first-time biographer or memoirist.