Harari and Kennedy vie for Parliamentary Book Awards

Harari and Kennedy vie for Parliamentary Book Awards

Books from Ruth Davidson, Alan Johnson, Tessa Jowell, Helena Kennedy and Yuval Noah Harari are shortlisted for the 2018 Parliamentary Book Awards.

Gender, equality and the nature of power take centre stage as dominating themes across the nine nominated titles, said Stephen Lotinga, the chief executive of the PA. The shortlist - which includes nine books across three categories - also “highlights fight for gender equality in modern politics”, according to awards organisers.

Biteback has two nods for Best Memoir by a Parliamentarian with Confession of a Recovering MP by Nick de Bois and Confessions of a Political Maverick by Austin Mitchell. The Power of Politicians by Jowell, and Frances D’ Souza, edited and with an introduction by Claire Foster-Gilbert (Haus Publishing) is also nominated - six months after Jowell, a Labour politician and baroness, died aged 70. Other shortlisted titles include  and In My Life: A Music Memoir by Alan Johnson (Transworld). 

Kennedy QC, a campaigner on gender equality, is one of those vying for best non-fiction by a parliamentarian for Eve Was Shamed: How British Justice is Failing Women (Vintage) while Davidson is recognised for Yes She Can: Why Women Own The Future (Hodder), alongside Adam Smith: What He Thought, and Why it Matters by Jesse Norman (Penguin). Equal Power: Gender Equality and How to Achieve It by Jo Swinson (Atlantic) is also shortlisted in this section.

Meanwhile the best political book by a non-parliamentarian sees Harari shortlisted for 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari (Vintage), pitted against the Orwell award-winning Poverty Safari: Understanding the Anger of Britain's Underclass by Darren McGarvey (Picador) and Why We Get The Wrong Politicians by Isabel Hardman (Atlantic).

Launched by the Booksellers Association (BA) and the Publishers Association (PA) in 2016, the annual prizes champion the best of political writing and celebrate the link between politics and publishing. They are the only political book awards voted for by parliamentarians. Publishers were invited to nominate books and authors for the awards, and the shortlist was drawn up by booksellers with voting now open for politicians to decide the winner in each category.

The awards will be presented at a parliamentary reception in the House of Commons, central London, on 4th December.

Lotinga said: “Great political writing offers us a lens through which we can examine our society and the world around us. This year’s shortlist of authors provides us with many profound insights into the tumultuous events of the last year, touching on important themes of gender, equality and the nature of power. I look forward to celebrating all of these important books at the House of Commons in December.”

Meryl Halls, m.d. of the BA, said: “The Parliamentary Book Awards showcase the incredible range of political writing today, and we are looking forward to celebrating this year’s shortlist of interesting and important books. The shortlist, voted on by Britain’s booksellers, highlights some of the most pressing issues in 2018, exploring gender politics, poverty, and the responsibilities of politicians to the public. It is now up to our parliamentarians to vote for their favourites in the coming weeks.”

Last year saw Nick Clegg and Harriet Harman among those named as winners.