Korta listan för Samuel Johnson Prize 2015

Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction är Storbritanniens främsta pris för facklitteratur. Prissumman är £20.000 och förra årets vinnare var Helen Macdonald med H is for Hawk, en bok om sorg och att tämja en duvhök.

Sa Anne Applebaum, juryns ordförande, om arbetet med att ta fram den korta listan:

“We didn’t quite come to blows, but the shortlist meeting was truly contentious,” hävdade hon. “It’s hard to imagine how five people sitting in a room on a weekday morning could have disagreed more strongly.”

Och så här ser den korta listan ut:

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Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life av Jonathan Bate (William Collins)

Den här biografin har inte kommit ut ännu, men ryktena säger att den innehåller sprängstoff.

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This Divided Island av Samanth Subramanian (Atlantic Books)

Skakande rapporter från inbördeskriget i Sri Lanka (recension)

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Landmarks av Robert Macfarlane (Hamish Hamilton)

”‘This is a book about the power of language,’ [Macfarlane] writes on page one. ‘It is a field guide to literature I love, and it is a word hoard of the astonishing lexis for landscape that exists in the comparison of islands, rivers, strands, fells, lochs, cities, towns, corries, hedgerows, fields and edgelands uneasily known as the British Isles.’” (recension)

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The Four-Dimensional Human av Laurence Scott (William Heinemann (PRH))

”One of the great strengths of this book is that its author offers himself up as the experimental rat in the virtual maze, analysing his own emotional responses to a life on social media. He writes of how in an era when everyone has the permanent possibility of communicating with just about anyone else, his own interactions with those actually present have become curiously stilted.” (recension)

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Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently av Steve Silberman (Allen & Unwin)

”Silberman dedicates his book to the British pioneer Dr Lorna Wing, the parent and psychiatrist responsible for the idea that autism is a spectrum condition. He paints portraits of scientists, inventors and engineers (historic and present-day) whose autistic perspectives have enhanced their work. He describes families and adults who have learned to live happily with autism and find its strengths.” (recension)

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The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq av Emma Sky (Atlantic Books)

”Emma Sky’s book is an eminently sensible ‘tale of unintended consequences, both of President Bush’s efforts to impose democracy and of President Obama’s detachment’. A critical insider’s account, it undermines the too-easy assumptions of left as well as right, exposing the achievements and (more often) stupidities of both administrations’ approaches to Iraq.” (recension)

Vinnaren tillkännages 2 november. Väldigt svårtippat, men jag tror att de starkaste kandidaterna är Jonathan Bate, Robert Macfarlane och Emma Sky.

Ola Wihlke

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