The Biographers' Club has revealed the shortlist for the 2017 Tony Lothian Prize, which awards £2,000 to the best proposal for an uncommissioned first biography.
In contention for the prize are The Boxing Parson of Killarney by Lin Rose Clark, the story of the author's grandfather who met an early death fighting with the International Brigades; Enter a Cloud: A Book On/With/For/After WS Graham by Oli Hazzard, a biography of WS Graham who was a close friend of Dylan Thomas and Edwin Morgan, and published by TS Eliot at Faber; and Willibald's Journey by Susan Kelly, about Willibald, who was born in Anglo-Saxon England in AD700, and was the "greatest traveller of his age".
Also up for the prize are Every Other Inch a Gentleman: The Lives of Michael Arlen by Philip Ward, a biography of "self-styled" chronicler of Mayfair society, Michael Arlen; and Queen Victoria's Freaks: The Performers at Buckingham Palace by John Woolf, which tells the story of the "dwarfs", "giants", "Siamese twins", "Aztec children" and "exotic freaks", who were summoned by royal command from the boards of the Victorian freak show to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle for the entertainment of the monarch, her family and her royal guests.
The judges are Alex Clark, Lindsay Duguid, and Edmund Gordon. The winner will be announced at the Biographers' Club Christmas party on 12th December.
The 2015 winner, Square Haunting by Francesca Wade, went on to be signed by Faber; the 2016 winner, Noble Savages by Sarah Watling, has been signed by Cape.
The prize is sponsored by the Duchess of Buccleuch in memory of her mother, Antonella, Marchioness of Lothian, OBE (1922-2007).