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  • Writer's picturePaul Andrews

Finalists Announced For 2023 Baillie Gifford Literary Prize

Covering current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts, the Baillie Gifford has been the pre-eminent prize for Non-Fiction in the UK since 1999.

From the inaugural winner Stalingrad to 2022’s Super-Infinite, via modern classics from, Stasiland, to The Five and the ‘Winner of Winners’— announced earlier this year 1599, past winners have gone on to become some of the most cherished and definitive Non-Fiction of the 21st century.

So who made the 2023 shortlist? The books in the running for the 2023 Baillie Gifford Prize are:

  • Time to Think by Hannah Barnes Time to Think goes behind the headlines to reveal the truth about the NHS's flagship gender service for children. The result is a disturbing and gripping parable for our times.

  • Red Memory by Tania Branigan An indelible exploration of the Cultural Revolution and how it shapes China today, Red Memory uncovers forty years of silence through the rarely heard stories of individuals who lived through Mao's decade of madness.

  • Revolutionary Spring by Christopher Clark There can be few more exciting or frightening moments in European history than the spring of 1848. Almost as if by magic, in city after city, from Palermo to Paris to Venice, huge crowds gathered, sometimes peaceful and sometimes violent, and the political order that had held sway since the defeat of Napoleon simply collapsed. Revolutionary Spring captures the essence of the time.

  • Time's Echo by Jeremy Eichler Time's Echo is a remarkable and stirring account of how music acts as a witness to history and a medium of cultural memory in the post-Holocaust world.

  • Mr B. by Jennifer Homans From the author of Apollo's Angels, Mr B. is the first major biography of the figure who modernised dance: an intimate portrait of the man behind the mythology, set against the vibrant backdrop of the century that shaped him, Balanchine's radical approach to choreography reinvented the art of dance and his richly evocative ballets made him a lasting legend.

  • Fire Weather by John Vaillant Fire Weather is a gripping account of this century's most intense urban fire, and a panoramic exploration of the rapidly changing relationship between humanity and fire's fierce energy.

The winning book will be chosen by this year’s judges: Literary Editor of the Financial Times, Frederick Studemann (chair); award-winning author, Andrea Wulf; theatre critic for The Guardian, Arifa Akbar; writer and historian, Ruth Scurr; journalist and critic, Tanjil Rashid; and Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts, Andrew Haldane.

Watch and hear what the judges had to say about the finalists here:

The winner will be announced at a Gala Evening taking place on November 16, 2023.


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