Orwell Prize for Books longlists Alderman and Matar

Orwell Prize for Books longlists Alderman and Matar

PRH authors Naomi Alderman and Hisham Matar have been longlisted for this year's Orwell Prize for Books, a £3,000 prize celebrating "the most compelling" political writing of 2016. 

PRH has a strong presence on the longlist, publishing six of the total 14 books longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Books 2017, while big issues tackled in books on the longlist range from gun control to FGM and the impact of the Hillsborough disaster. 

Alderman, a novelist and games designer behind fitness app Zombies, Run!, was longlisted for dystopian novel The Power (Viking). The book, imagining a world where women gain the power to electrocute at will, was recently longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction and has been optioned by Sister Pictures, co-producers of ITV's "Broadchurch", to be turned into a global television series following an 11-way auction

Libyan writer Matar, also published by Viking, was longlisted for The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between, a memoir that was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction and won the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize at the end of last year. The book is a memoir exploring Matar's father's imprisonment in Gaddafi's Libya.

Further PRH authors longlisted include New York Times c.e.o. Mark Thompson for Enough Said, exploring how we discuss serious ideas in the age of 24-hour news, and Gideon Rachman, winner of the Orwell prize for political journalism last year, who is recognised for Easternisation, a book about the growing wealth, and in turn power, of Asian nations (both published by The Bodley Head). Conservative MP Rory Stewart is longlisted for travel memoir The Marches (Jonathan Cape) and Helen Pearson for The Life Project (Allen Lane), highlighting findings from the longest-running study of human development in the world, which began in Britain in 1946. 

Historian and broadcaster David Olusoga and editor-at-large for the Guardian Gary Younge, both recently shortlisted for the inaugural Jhalak prize, were longlisted for their books, Black and British: A Forgotten History (Macmillan) and Another Day in the Death of America (Guardian Faber), the latter highlighting 10 young lives cut short by guns in a single day in America. 

Hibo Wardere, who has devoted herself to the campaign against FGM, joined the longlist for her memoir Cut (Simon & Schuster), written in collaboration with Anna Wharton, shedding light on a practice still being carried out in Britain today. 

Exploring Westminster politics, Tim Shipman was longlisted for his account of the 2016 EU referendum in All Out War (HarperCollins UK) "based on unrivalled access to all the key politicians and their advisors" and John Bew for Citizen Clem (Quercus), a biography of post-war Labour prime minister Clement Attlee.

Independents Oneworld, Repeater and Faber & Faber were represented on the list by Ruth Dudley Edwards's The Seven (Oneworld), a critical re-examination of the Easter Rising; Island Story by JD Taylor (Repeater), the author's discovery of the different sides to UK identity on his rusty bike; and And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany (Faber & Faber), an account of the relationship between football and the state after surviving the Hillsborough disaster. 

The judges cormprised Jonathan Derbyshire, executive comment editor at the Financial Times, playwright and author Bonnie Greer, writer and broadcaster Mark Lawson and writer and critic Erica Wagner. They commented: "From Hadrian’s Wall to Brexit and a dystopian fictional future, this year’s list offers a clear and calm perspective on Britain and its place in the world. The books reflect many aspects of Orwell’s literary character and interests: fiction, journalism, football, language and landscape."

The shortlist for the Orwell Prize for Books will be announced at a special lecture with Ruth Davidson, Scottish Conservative leader, on 15th May 2017, together with shortlists for the Orwell Prize for Journalism and the Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils.

The winner of each £3000 prize will be announced at a ceremony during UCL’s Festival of Culture on 8th June 2017.