Atlantic claims three titles on Samuel Johnson shortlist

Atlantic claims three titles on Samuel Johnson shortlist

Atlantic Books has three titles on the shortlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2015, which celebrates the best in non-fiction writing.

The shortlisted books were revealed yesterday (11th October) at The Royal Festival Hall in London.

The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq by Emma Sky and This Divided Island by Samanth Subramanian, both published by Atlantic Books, and Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently by Steve Silberman, published by Allen & Unwin, an imprint of Atlantic Books, make up three of the six shortlisted titles for the prize. The other three are Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life by Jonathan Bate (William Collins); Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane (Hamish Hamilton) and The Four-Dimensional Human by Laurence Scott (William Heinemann).

Will Atkinson, managing director and publisher at Atlantic, told The Bookseller: "We are delighted to have our publishing endorsed in this special way. Serious, readable non-fiction is the hallmark of Atlantic, so this only encourages our endeavours, and we aim to be a home for serious writers for many years to come.  I am particularly pleased that our fledgling imprint Allen & Unwin UK has racked up its first short listing for a major literary prize."

Literary agent Toby Mundy, executive director of the Samuel Johnson Prize and formerly publisher and c.e.o of Atlantic Books, praised the "terrific range and quality" of the list, arrived on after a "heated debated among the judges" which he said "proved that non-fiction publishing in this country is in rude health".

Judges Sumit Paul-Choudhury and Rana Mitter announced the six titles at a public event with special guest Helen Macdonald, winner of the 2014 prize.

Chair of the judges, Anne Applebaum, said: "We didn't quite come to blows, but the shortlist meeting was truly contentious; it's hard to imagine how five people sitting in a room on a weekday morning could have disagreed more strongly. Nevertheless I am delighted to say that our list includes some exceptional books, which capture - among other things - the politics of troubled countries, the relationship of life to poetry, the historical understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders and the nature of the new digital world."

The British Academy will host a Samuel Johnson Prize shortlist event chaired by James Naughtie, books editor of the BBC Radio 4 "Today Programme", on Tuesday 27th October from 6.30pm to 8pm. Tickets are available on the British Academy website.

The winner of the 2015 prize will be announced on Monday 2nd November at an awards ceremony in London.

Last year’s prize winner H is for Hawk by Macdonald (Jonathan Cape) went on to win the 2014 Costa Book of the Year Award.