Bart van Es' The Cut Out Girl (Fig Tree) and Tara Westover's Educated (Hutchinson) have been shortlisted for the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize.
Van Es' true, "powerful and harrowing" story of a young Jewish girl and her struggle to survive Nazi persecution in Holland during the Second World War will compete for the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize shortlist with Westover, who is shortlisted for her memoir, Educated, about the author's upbringing in a survivalist family in Idaho and her discovery of education. Westover's book was originally the subject of a 24-hour six-figure pre-empt in the UK and has since been named one of Barack Obama's top reads of 2018.
Joining van Es and Westover on the five-strong shortlist for the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize are Roland Philipps for A Spy Named Orphan (Bodley Head), a "gripping" retelling of the life of Soviet spy Donald Maclean; Michele Mendelssohn for Making Oscar Wilde (OUP), a "compelling" account of the writer's rise, fall and resurrection drawing on new archives; and British poet Fiona Sampson for In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein (Profile), about the inner life of the Shelley, 200 years on from the publication of her famous literary creation.
The winner of the £2,500 prize, judged by authors Anne Chisholm, Rachel Cooke and Andrew O'Hagan and sponsored by literary quarterly Slightly Foxed, will be revelaed at a ceremony at Maggs Bros in Bedford Square on Tuesday 26th February.
Earlier this week, The Cut Out Girl was named the unanimous winner of the Costa Biography Award, putting it in the running for the title of Costa Book of the Year.