Samuel Johnson Prize 2015 longlist has 'something for everyone'

Samuel Johnson Prize 2015 longlist has 'something for everyone'

The longlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction includes “pretty much every important non-fiction genre”, chair of judges Anne Applebaum has said.

Announced today (Tuesday), more than half of the 12-strong longlist is published by independent publishers, including two books apiece from Faber & Faber and Atlantic.

Faber’s two books are Robert Gildea’s Fighters in the Shadows: A New History of the French Resistance and Peter Pomerantsev’s travelogue Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: Adventures in Modern Russia. Pomerantsev’s book has also been shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize.

Atlantic’s titles are Emma Sky’s The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq, which offers a first person account of the Iraq war and its aftermath, and Samanth Subramanian’s This Divided Island, an account of the Sri Lankan war.

Oliver Morton’s The Planet Remade (Granta Books) is a study of the technologies and strategies that could tackle climate change.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantanamo Diary (Canongate) is the author’s memoir about his time in Guantanamo Bay.

Steve Silberman's Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently is published by Allen & Unwin.

HarperCollins has two books on the list - Jonathan Bate’s Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life (William Collins), and Bruce Robinson’s They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper (4th Estate).

The remaining three books on the list are all from Penguin Random House imprints.

Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks (Hamish Hamilton) is about the beauty of language and landscape. Laurence Scott’s The Four-Dimensional Human (William Heinemann) is about the existential impact of digital technologies, and Tim Snyder’s Black Earth  (Bodley Head) is a study on the Holocaust.

Applebaum, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and journalist, said: “We didn't plan it this way, but this year's Samuel Johnson Prize longlist includes pretty much every important non-fiction genre: biography, history, science writing, travel writing, journalism. There's something for everybody here, whatever your tastes.”  

Joining Applebaum on the judging panel are Emma Duncan, editor of Intelligent Life, Sumit Paul-Choudhury, editor of New Scientist, Professor Rana Mitter, director of China Centre at Oxford University, and Tessa Ross, former controller of film and drama and head of Film 4 Tessa Ross.

The winner of the 2015 prize will be announced on Monday 2nd November, following the shortlist announcement at London’s Southbank Centre on Sunday 11th October as part of London Literature Festival.

The winner of last year’s prize was H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald (Jonathan Cape).