Jenny Uglow and Mark Bostridge are among the five authors shortlisted for the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History 2015.
The £2,000 prize, funded from former PEN member Marjorie Hessell-Tiltman’s bequest to English PEN, celebrates the best non-fiction on a historical subject from any period up to the Second World War.
Uglow, who won the prize in 2003 for The Lunar Men (Faber), is shortlisted for In These Times (Faber), which looks at how news about the Napoleonic Wars reached people in Britain from aristocrats to paupers, and how it impacted on them.
Bostridge’s The Fateful Year (Viking), the story of England in 1914 as war with Germany breaks out, is also on the shortlist. Two other PRH titles made the shortlist: God's Traitors by Jessie Childs (Bodley Head), an exploration of the predicament facing Catholics in Elizabethan England through the eyes of the Vaux family of Harrowden Hall; and Robert Tombs’ history of England and its peoples, The English and Their History (Allen Lane).
The shortlist is completed by Pagan Britain by Ronald Hutton (Yale), which looks at the development, suppression and enduring cultural significance of paganism.
This year’s prize is judged by historian and Times Literary Supplement’s sport editor, David Horspool and Ruth Scurr, writer, historian and literary critic, with novelist and historian Tom Holland, who won the prize in 2004 for Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic (Little, Brown), chairing.
Holland said the shortlist “bears witness to the remarkable strength and variety of historical writing in Britain at the moment…Stimulating, sometimes topical and always compulsively readable, there is something here for everyone”.
The winning book will be announced at 4:30pm on Wednesday 15th April at the PEN Literary Salon at the London Book Fair.