July 2, 2009

Winner of the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction

Mark Flanagan, on his Contemporary Lit blog for About.com, had this posted from yesterday:

The BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction was yesterday awarded to Leviathan, Or The Whale, Philip Hoare's memoir of his life-long obsession and humanity's own fascination with whales.

The BBC Samuel Johnson Prize is the UK's most prestigious prize for nonfiction, a £20,000 award sponsored by the BBC and open to all nonfiction work in the realms of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts.

The other books shortlisted for the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize were:

  • Lords of Finance by Liaquat Ahamed (William Heinemann)
  • Bad Science by Ben Goldacre (Fourth Estate)
  • The Lost City of Z by David Grann(Simon and Schuster)
  • The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes (HarperPress)
  • Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality by Manjit Kumar (Icon Books)


  1. I heard about this on Twitter and immediately added it to my wishlist. It sounds fascinating! And plus if it won over Bad Science, it really must be something.

  2. I thought you might be interested in this site - a good way of keeping up with prize winners:

  3. The cover is very cool and I appreciate this post. I don't pay enough attention to prize books and I should!

  4. Nymeth: I am not sure if it sounds like something I want to read or not. I love animals and whales fascinate me but I am not sure about a whole book about them. I guess it is worth a try, though, if it won a prize!

    Dave: Thanks for the link! Very cool!

    Staci: I have read some great prize-winning books and some that did not win me over at all. (Atonement, ahem.) But I definitely think that most of the books selected for prizes are worth trying.


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