Tessa Jowell and Frances D’Souza have won Best Memoir at the Parliamentary Book Awards 2018 as Conservative MP Jesse Norman and journalist Isabel Hardman also take home prizes.
The late MP and former Lord Speaker won for The Power of Politicians (Haus Publishing (published with the Westminster Abbey Institute)), which explores Jowell’s career in Parliament to examine what makes a good politician.
Former Labour cabinet minister Dame Tessa died, aged 70, in May this year after being diagnosed with brain cancer a year earlier.
Conservative MP Jesse Norman and journalist Isabel Hardman came home winners at the only political book awards curated by bookshops and voted for by parliamentarians.
Norman won the Best Non-Fiction by a Parliamentarian award for Adam Smith: What He Thought and Why it Matters (Penguin), in which Norman discusses the life of economist Adam Smith, and dispels the myths that have grown around his legacy and beliefs, according to the judges.
Hardman was awarded the Best Political Book by a Non-Parliamentarian for Why We Get the Wrong Politicians (Atlantic) .
The winners managed to see off strong competition from a shortlist which included Ruth Davidson’s Yes She Can: Why Women Own The Future (Hodder), Helena Kennedy’s Eve Was Shamed: How British Justice is Failing Women (Random House),and Alan Johnson’s In My Life: A Music Memoir (Transworld).
Launched by the Booksellers Association and the Publishers Association in 2016, the shortlist was voted for by UK bookshops, with parliamentarians then voting for the winner in each category.
Meryl Halls, Managing Director of the Booksellers Association, said: “This year’s shortlist is made up of a range of thought-provoking titles for Parliamentarians to choose from, reflecting the uniquely complex political landscape we live in.
“The winners reflect that complexity, highlighting the constant questioning of our political system and those working within it. With winners as topical and carefully considered as these, the Awards continue to highlight the importance of books, bookshops and reading to our political and civil discourse, and reinforce the symbiosis between politics and bookselling.”
Stephen Lotinga, the Chief Executive of the Publishers Association, said: “At a time when the public’s appetite for political writing is at an all-time high, all three of this year’s winners offer crucial insights into the makeup of Britain’s political class and culture.
“From Jesse Norman’s recharacterisation of the relevance of Adam Smith’s philosophy, to Tessa Jowell’s reflections on lessons learnt from a lifetime in politics, through to Isabel Hardman’s insights into modern politicians, each of these winning books provide many lessons for the challenges we currently face.”
The awards ceremony was held at the House of Commons this evening, hosted by Dame Margaret Hodge MP and presented by Pippa Crerar, Political Editor at The Daily Mirror.