Independent publishers have dominated the shortlist for the 2016 Orwell Prize for Books, Britain’s "most prestigious" prize for political writing.
Two titles from Atlantic Books have been selected for the prize, which is awarded each year to the book which comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition to "make political writing into an art". The titles are: The Unravelling, an “intimate portrait” of the failure of the “Iraq adventure” by Emma Sky, and The Invention of Russia, an investigation into how ideological conflicts, compromises and temptations have left Russia on a “knife-edge” by foreign correspondent Arkady Ostrovsky.
Also on the shortlist from independent publishers are Circling the Square, an account of the “dizzying events” of the 2011 Egyptian revolution by Wendell Stevenson (Granta), and “distinguished” economist John Kay’s Other People’s Money, which shows what has gone wrong in the “dark heart” of finance (Profile).
The New Threat from Islamic Militancy, in which prize-winning reporter Jason Burke provides the “clearest and most comprehensive guide to Islamic militancy today”, (Bodley Head) and The Tears of the Rajas, a "sweeping" history of the British in India, seen through the experiences of a single Scottish family by Ferdinand Mount (Simon & Schuster) round out the shortlist.
The judges for the Orwell Prize for Books 2016 are Lord William Waldegrave, Professor Andrew Gamble, David Goodhart and Fiammetta Rocco.
Goodhart said: “Apart from Ferdinand Mount’s exploration of the Raj, which has its own continuing relevance, all these books left me feeling a lot better informed, and somewhat more anxious, about several of today’s most pressing issues… and they were all damn good reads. Good writing about the things that matter, what more could you ask for in a short-list.”
The winner of the £3,000 prize will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday 26th May 2016.