Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

LONDON — An engrossing account of a pivotal yr for English historical past and literature has been named the greatest-ever winner of the U.Ok.’s main nonfiction guide prize.

James Shapiro’s “1599: A Yr within the Lifetime of William Shakespeare” gained the Baillie Gifford Prize Winner of Winners award Thursday. It was topped from a area of six finalists drawn from the 24 winners of the Baillie Gifford award, which marks its twenty fifth version this yr.

Shapiro, professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia College, was awarded the 25,000-pound ($31,000) prize at a celebratory dinner in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Launched in 1999 and identified till 2015 because the Samuel Johnson Prize, the award celebrates English-language books from any nation within the fields of present affairs, historical past, politics, science, sport, journey, biography, autobiography and the humanities. It has been credited with bringing an eclectic slate of nonfiction books to a wider viewers.

Shapiro’s guide, which gained the prize in 2006, explores Shakespeare’s life in teeming Tudor London within the yr he turned 35, accomplished “Henry V,” wrote “Julius Caesar” and “As You Like It” and produced the primary draft of “Hamlet,” extensively thought to be his biggest play.

Creator and tutorial Sarah Churchwell, one of many 4 prize judges, mentioned Shapiro’s guide “does so many issues remarkably nicely.”

It’s “a biography of one of many biggest writers who ever lived, about whom we all know nearly nothing,” she mentioned, and “a biography of the thoughts of a genius at work.”

Churchwell mentioned the judges “felt it was necessary the guide that gained confirmed what artistic nonfiction can do.”

“1599” beat 5 different books, together with British author Craig Brown’s “One Two Three 4: The Beatles in Time,” Canadian writer Wade Davis’ mountaineering odyssey “Into the Silence” and Canadian Margaret MacMillan’s historical past of the post-World Battle I peace talks, “Paris 1919.”

The 2 different finalists have been American: Barbara Demick, for “Nothing to Envy: Actual Lives in North Korea,” and Patrick Radden Keefe for opioid expose “Empire of Ache: The Secret Historical past of the Sackler Dynasty.”

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