Britain’s £62,000 Baillie Gifford Prize names its 2022 longlist

The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction will award £50,000 to its winner in November, with a shortlist due October 10.

Image: Baillie Gifford Award

By Porter Anderson, Editor | @Porter_Anderson

Seven shortlisted authors are British

Iin the overgrown jungle of UK-based book and publishing prices, Publication prospects readers know that the Baillie Gifford Award is one of the most lucrative prizes for non-fiction alongside the Cundill History Prize; the renowned British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding (formerly the Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize); and the German Non-Fiction Award.

Baillie Gifford’s grand prize for its winner is £50,000 (US$56,320), and each of its 12 shortlisted authors receives £1,000 (US$1,127) for a total of £62,000 in prize money.

This morning’s (September 22) longlist announcement includes four authors in their first publications: Andrea Elliott; Thomas Halliday; Sally Hayden; and Matt Rowland Hill. The dozen authors here are also newcomers to the award’s recognitions, no return. Seven shortlisted authors are British.

Many will note the timely inclusion in this long list of American author and Harvard professor Caroline Elkins. The Legacy of Violence: A History of the British Empire (Penguin Random House/Bodley Head, March).

In a conversation with Caroline Houck at Vox during the mourning rites for Queen Elizabeth II, Elkins said: ‘What we know is that with King Charles III there can be no doubt about plausible deniability.

“Given the demands for a broader kind of imperial reckoning across the empire, based on an abundance of protests and petitions from former colonists, as well as the abundance of evidence that people like me have produced , he can’t dodge that.

“So the question becomes, is he going to break with tradition, with the legacy of his mother who somehow keeps a unique history of the exceptionalism of the British Empire?”

This discussion of the era of decolonization and Elizabeth’s “control” of “British exceptionalism” is considered by many to be overdue, and many observers and scholars now insist that the time for transparency, examination and investigation has arrived.

Maya Jasanoff is another author in the field and was honored with the Cundill History Prize – one of the Baillie Gifford’s sister award programs in socially relevant non-fiction – for her The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World—from Penguin Random House in Canada and the United Kingdom, and from HarperCollins in the States. His New York Times opinion piece, Mourn the queen, not her empire (September 8), was part of the debate about, as Jasanoff notes, “the end of an era” in which “we may never know what the Queen did or did not know of the crimes committed in her name .”

And it’s the kind of literary output that top book and publishing award programs, like the Baillie Gifford and the Cundill, capture the attention of industry and consumers alike. It is this value that sets these deep field rewards programs apart from so many less relevant and more entertainment-focused competitions.

Upcoming dates for the Baillie Gifford

A pre-selection of the Baillie Gifford program is expected on October 10 at the Cheltenham Literary Festival in England, a public event. The winner will then be named on November 17 at an event at the Science Museum in London with support from the Blavatnik Foundation.

Last year, the Baillie-Gifford winner was American writer Patrick Radden Keefe for Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynastypublished by Pan Macmillan’s Picador in the UK and PRH imprint Doubleday in the US.

The books in this long list were chosen from an initial pool of 362 titles published between November 1 and October 31 of this year. The jurors this time are writer and associate editor of The bookstore, Caroline Sanderson (Chair); writer and science journalist, Laura Spinney; critic and writer for The Observer, Rachel Cooke; BBC journalist and presenter, Clive Myrie; author and New Yorker writer, Samanth Subramanian; and critic and host Georgina Godwin.

The long list of the 2022 Baillie Gifford Prize
Title Author Editor and/or editor
Legacy of Violence: A History of the British Empire Caroline Elkins (American) Penguin Random House / Bodley Head / Vintage
Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, and Hope in an American City Andrea Elliott (American) Penguin Random House / Hutchinson Heinemann / Cornerstone
The Escape Artist: The Man Who Escaped Auschwitz to Warn the World Jonathan Freedland (British) Hachette / John Murray Press
Otherlands: a world in the making Thomas Halliday (British) Penguin Random House / Allen Lane / Penguin Press
Dinner with Joseph Johnson: Books and Friendship in Revolutionary Times Daisy Hay (British) Penguin Random House / Chatto and Windus / Vintage
My Fourth Time We Drowned: Seeking Refuge on the World’s Deadliest Migration Route Sally Hayden (Irish) HarperCollins / 4th Estate
Original Sins: A Memoir Matt Rowland Hill (British) Penguin Random House / Chatto and Windus / Vintage
The Restless Republic: Britain Without a Crown Anna Keay (British) HarperCollins/William Collins
One Lucky Woman: A Country Doctor’s Story Polly Morland (British) Pan Macmillan / Picador
The barefoot woman Scholastique Mukasonga (French/Rwandan), translated by Jordan Stump Daunt Books Publishing / Daunt Originals
Super-Infinity: John Donne’s Transformations Katherine Rundell (British) Faber & Faber
Kingdom of Characters: A Story of Language, Obsession, and Genius in Modern China Jing Tsu (American) Penguin Random House / Allen Lane / Penguin Press

The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction is open to writers of all nationalities and covers non-fiction in the fields of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts.

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 168th awards report published in the 176 days since we began our 2022 operations on January 3.

More information on Publishing Insights on the publishing industry and book awards is here, more on the UK market is here, more on the Baillie Gifford award is here, and more on non-fiction is here.

MOre on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident member of Trends Research & Advisory, and was named International Business Journalist of the Year at the London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards. He is editor of Publishing Perspectives. He was previously associate editor of The FutureBook at The Bookseller in London. Anderson was a senior producer and anchor for, CNN International and CNN USA for more than a decade. As an art critic (National Critics Institute), he has collaborated with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which is now owned and operated by Jane Friedman.