Macfarlane and Pinker vie on Samuel Johnson shortlist

Macfarlane and Pinker vie on Samuel Johnson shortlist

Robert Macfarlane's latest exploration of landscape The Old Ways (Hamish Hamilton) and Steven Pinker's study of violence The Better Angels of Our Nature (Allen Lane) are two of the titles shortlisted for this year's Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, announced today (5th October).

Also in contention for the £20,000 prize are Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo (Portobello), about the residents of the Annawadi slum in Mumbai; Wade Davis' Into the Silence (The Bodley Head), about Mallory's 1924 Everest expedition; Paul Preston's The Spanish Holocaust (HarperPress), billed the first authoritative study of how Franco set out to eliminate 200,000 men, women and children across Spain; and Sue Prideaux's biography Strindberg (Yale University Press).

The shortlist has been chosen by science minister David Willetts, writer Patrick French, The Guardian's Paul Laity, Prospect editor Bronwen Maddox and philosopher and critic Professor Raymond Tallis.

The winner will be announced on 12th November.

For the first time, the Prize is collaborating with The Reading Agency to allow six library-linked reading groups from across the UK to read and review the shortlisted books, with the reviews posted on the Prize website and on the Reading Groups for Everyone website (