Radden Keefe, Flyn and Ypi among shortlist for Baillie Gifford Prize

Radden Keefe, Flyn and Ypi among shortlist for Baillie Gifford Prize

Patrick Radden Keefe, Cal Flyn and Lea Ypi are among the six shortlisted authors for this year's £50,000 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction.

The announcement was made at a live event at the Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival on 15th October.

Radden Keefe’s Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty (Picador) is a portrait of three generations of the Sackler family, famed for their philanthropy, whose fortune was built by Valium and whose reputation was destroyed by the opioid OxyContin. Flyn’s Island of Abandonment: Life in the Post-Human Landscape (William Collins) looks at what happens when nature is allowed to reclaim its place, through an examination of ghost towns and exclusion zones, no man’s land and post-industrial hinterlands. Ypi’s Free: Coming of Age at the End of History (Allen Lane) tells the author's coming-of-age story during Albania’s turbulent political upheaval after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The other shortlisted works include Aftermath: Life in the Fallout of the Third Reich, 1945–1955 by Harald Jähner, translated by Shaun Whiteside (W H Allen), which is an exploration of the lesser told history of Germany in the first decade after the Second World War. Also nominated is award-winning poet and novelist Kei Miller's Things I Have Withheld (Canongate), a collection of essays that examines the silence in which so many important things are kept, recounting everyday acts of racism and prejudice and challenging readers to interrogate what seems unsayable and why. John Preston’s Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell (Viking) completes the list with his work on the infamous businessman's rise and fall. 

Andrew Holgate, chair of judges, said: “I'm not sure I've ever been on a judging panel on which I've felt so invigorated and excited by the shortlist as I have on this Baillie Gifford Prize panel. Every one of these books is an enveloping read. There's attack here, deep learning, challenge, keen analysis and revelation, but above all, there is outstanding storytelling, and deep pleasure to be had in reading all six of the books on this list.” 

The winner will be announced at an event at the Science Museum on 16th November.

Last year’s winner was Craig Brown for One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time (Fourth Estate) which, in paperback, became a Waterstones Book of the Month.