Sep 20, 2016
By Michael Kramer
Books about a black writer’s childhood in postwar Chicago – life in the Soviet Union – and one man’s attempt to live like a badger – are among the variety of contenders for Britain’s leading literary award for nonfiction.
The 10 books longlisted for the $39,000 Baillie Gifford Prize include Second-hand Time, by Belarusian Nobel literature laureate Svetlana Alexievich, Margo Jefferson’s memoir Negroland – and Being a Beast – by writer Charles Foster.
Others listed Tuesday include Libyan writer Hisham Matar’s quest to discover his father’s fate, The Return – Simon Ings’ Soviet history Stalin and the Scientists – and Siddhartha Mukherjee’s study of the building blocks of life, The Gene.
The award was formerly called the Samuel Johnson Prize.
It recognizes English-language nonfiction from any country.
Six finalists will be announced October 17th – with the winner honoured on November 15th in London.