Shortlist announced for The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, 2016

The political is personal, the personal is political

Shortlist announced for
The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, 2016


Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winners, alongside a writer previously shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
An international list with British, American and Belarusian authors, with one work in translation

The shortlist for the £30,000 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, which celebrates the best in non-fiction writing, is announced today, Monday 17 October.

The four titles on this year’s shortlist are:

Second-hand Time, Svetlana Alexievich, translated by Bela Shayevich (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
Negroland: A Memoir, Margo Jefferson (Granta Books)
The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land In Between, Hisham Matar (Viking)
East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, Philippe Sands (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)








The titles chosen by the judges all interrogate rigorously the world around us, with particular focus on how individual lives are informed and shaped by social, political and historical forces.

Broader studies of moments in history are grounded in deeply personal narratives. Margo Jefferson’s Negroland: A Memoir chronicles the experience of growing up in Chicago’s black elite in the 1960s and 70s ‘sheltered by a certain amount of privilege and plenty’. Jefferson explores this space at a time of great change for race and gender relations in America.

Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexeivich’s Second-hand Time (translated by Bela Shayevich) also uses personal testimony to evoke a particular time and place. Her book is a polyphonic collage that reveals what life in the USSR was like just prior to its collapse, charting the disappearance of an entire world.

They are joined on the shortlist by Philippe Sands’ East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, in which historical, legal and familial narratives are woven together to reveal the origins of international law, beginning and ending with the last day of the Nuremberg trial.

Family is at the heart of Hisham Matar’s shortlisted title, too. The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land In Between sees Matar return to his home country of Libya following the fall of Gaddafi. Twenty-two years earlier, the regime kidnapped and imprisoned Matar’s father, who he would never see again. It is a profound account of how love and loss both shape and deform an individual life.

Stephanie Flanders, Chair of the Judges, comments:

“Some shortlists are creatures of compromise. You end up with a list that everyone can live with, rather than a set of titles that each judge can wholeheartedly endorse. But I’m delighted to say there was no need for messy compromises this year – or even much debate. Of the many superb books on the long list, these are the four books that each of us would be happy so see win.

“If they have anything in common it is perhaps the emphasis on the first person – and first-hand reporting. There are voices and stories in these books that we haven’t heard before and which are going to stay with me for a very long time.”

The shortlist has been chosen by a panel chaired by former BBC Economics Editor, Stephanie Flanders, together with Philip Ball, science writer and author; Jonathan Derbyshire, executive comment editor of the Financial Times; Dr Sophie Ratcliffe, scholar, writer and literary critic and Rohan Silva, co-founder of the social enterprise, Second Home.

The winner of this year’s award will be announced on Tuesday 15 November, at a dinner supported by a donation from the Blavatnik Family Foundation. The winner of last year’s prize was Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently by Steve Silberman.

Sarah Whitley, Partner of Baillie Gifford and Chair of its Sponsorship Committee, adds:
“We are delighted to have begun our long-term relationship with the Prize. We recognise the difficult choices the judges have had to make in refining this shortlist from the excellent group of longlisted authors. The topics tackled by the short listed authors are wonderfully varied in their nature and locations.”

Top 10 Horror Movies for Halloween

This year for Halloween we have put together our top 10 favourite horror movies that will leave you quivering under your duvet with all the lights on!

#1 The Shining (1980)

shiningStanley Kubrick directs this chilling adaptation of the Stephen King shocker. Seeking solitude in order to write a novel, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) takes a job as an off-season caretaker at the remote Overlook Hotel in Colorado. Eager to get started, Jack disregards warnings that the isolation drove a former caretaker mad, and moves into the massive resort with his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd). But Danny has a supernatural gift which makes him aware of an evil lurking in the hotel, and sure enough, as winter storms cut the hotel off from civilisation, Jack gradually becomes murderously insane.

#2 The Exorcist (1973)

exActress Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) has every reason to be content, having just completed a film with director Burke Dennings (Jack MacGowran). However, she becomes disturbed by the changes taking place in her 12-year-old daughter, Regan (Linda Blair). At first sullen and withdrawn, Regan becomes aggressive and blasphemous, and ugly welts appear on her face and body. No medical cure is forthcoming, and after Burke is killed by being thrown from Regan’s window, Chris turns to local Jesuit priest Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller) for help. Karras then calls in exorcist Father Lankester Merrin (Max von Sydow), who confirms that Regan is possessed by the devil. William Peter Blatty’s screenplay, based on his own novel inspired by actual events, won an Oscar, and the film was deemed so powerful that it was refused a BBFC certificate for fifteen years.

#3 The Wicker Man (1973)

wickerAn alternative cut of the cult horror classic, featuring previously undiscovered footage, in which devout Christian policeman Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) finds himself summoned to a remote Scottish island to investigate the disappearance of a child. On arrival, Howie finds himself increasingly isolated and humiliated by the actions of the island’s community, who belong to a bizarre pagan cult led by the charming Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee). As preparations for a sinister ritual celebration reach fever pitch, Howie, whilst trying to fend off the advances of the local landlord’s daughter Willow (Britt Ekland), begins to suspect what role the islanders intend him to play.

#4 Psycho (1960)

physcAlfred Hitchcock directs this Oscar-nominated thriller starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins. Marion Crane (Leigh) goes on the run after stealing $40,000 from one of her employer’s clients. Taking a wrong turn in a storm, she arrives at the isolated Bates Motel, run by the twitchy Norman (Perkins), who is constantly at the beck and call of his unseen mother. When Marion takes a shower in her room, a sudden knife attack brings her life to an end. Upon discovering her body Norman covers up the murder, but it is not long before Marion’s sister and boyfriend are attempting to track her down. Leigh’s performance won her a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.

#5 Alien (1979)

alienWhen Kane (John Hurt) and the crew of the spaceship ‘Nostromo’ investigate a transmission from a deserted planet, he is attacked by an unknown organism which attaches itself to his face. The crew cut the creature off, but not before it has made Kane the host of a monstrous alien killer, one which will hatch out through his stomach (one of cinema’s most memorably gory scenes) and proceed to hunt down the crew one by one.

#6 The Omen 

omenRemake of Richard Donner’s 1976 horror classic. Katherine (Julia Stiles) and Robert (Liev Schreiber) Thorn are as loving parents as any young boy could ask for, but as fate would have it, their new son Damien is far from the typical child. Now, as the mysterious boy’s growth begins to share frightening parallels with the Biblical passages detailing the rise of the Antichrist, and the lives of all who seek to reveal his true nature are cut gruesomely short, Robert and Katherine are forced to face the horrifying prospect that their child has been sent from Satan to hasten the fall of modern civilisation.

#7 The Conjuring (2013)

conjJames Wan directs this horror starring Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as real-life demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. When the Perron family experience strange goings-on at their farmhouse, they enlist the help of paranormal experts Ed and Lorraine. As they investigate, however, the couple begin to realise that, despite their expertise, they may not be equipped to deal with such a violent and foreboding evil…

#8 Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

stokerFrancis Ford Coppola’s big budget version of Bram Stoker’s classic vampire novel. Victorian London provides the stalking ground for the lovelorn Transylvanian Prince Vlad (Gary Oldman), feeding off human blood as he seeks out the beautiful Mina (Winona Ryder), a reincarnation of his lost love Elisabeta. Mina is also courted by gentleman estate agent Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves), whose chum Doctor Van Helsing (Anthony Hopkins) wants to put an end to this vampire business once and for all.

#9 Poltergeist (1982)

polterAfter the Bowen family move into their new suburban home they quickly realise something is not quite right when their youngest daughter Madison (Kennedi Clements) starts communicating with people or things that are not really there. When Madison disappears without a trace her mother and father (Rosemarie DeWitt and Sam Rockwell) consult an exorcist who informs them that the house was built on an old cemetery and the buried spirits are prepared to go to extreme lengths to drive out their new neighbours.

#10 The Woman in Black (2012)

womanSupernatural drama, based on the novel by Susan Hill, in which a young lawyer finds himself battling to contain the ghost of a dead woman bent on destruction. When Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) leaves his son (Misha Handley) behind in London to head off on an assignment to a remote village, he has little idea of what lies in store for him. Once there, Arthur discovers that the locals live in such fear of a mysterious figure known as the ‘Woman in Black’ that they keep their children locked away indoors, afraid that contact with the woman would harm them. Arthur’s investigations lead him to believe that the woman is a ghost, haunted by her inability to save her son from drowning. When she turns her attention towards Arthur’s own son, the lawyer is forced to confront the spectre head on.

6 Must Read Books If You Are Starting Your Own Business

6 Must Read Books If You Are Starting Your Own Business

There are many reasons why you want to start a business. It may be that you want to follow your passion, be your own boss, make enough money to take early retirement or maybe even work from somewhere else in the world. Whatever the desire, starting your own business is a big learning curve.

Most of us have entertained the thought of starting our own business but many have struggled to turn those thoughts into actions. The truth is, it’s not easy. Along with family, a day job and all the other things that add up it can seem like you have to climb a mountain before you even get started. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible it just means that it takes time, hard work and direction to start seeing results. The process of becoming successful usually takes a number of years and is often a bumpy ride! So to help you along your entrepreneurial journey we have selected 6 must read books that will make your business life a little easier and hopefully more successful.

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill

The Idea in You


A great place to start is by reading The Idea in You by Martin Amor and Alex Pellew. It’s certainly not one of those books that waffles on about vague, unrelatable advice with no real actionable information. In fact, it breaks down the reasoning and thought processes you need to get the seed of a simple idea into a money making business. It inspires you to take action – now. Martin and Alex underline the urgency to do things when you think of them and also reassuringly guide you through your early versions of an idea. It’s clear, thoughtfully written and includes the journey’s of other real life business’s to illustrate their unique paths to success.

In a nutshell: A bulletproof system for finding the right idea and shaping it in to a success – on your own terms.

Rich Dad Poor Dad

Top 5 Business books

Money is the oil that runs your business and if it runs out your business will break down. One of the keys to starting your own business is understanding money.  Robert Kiyosaki’s best seller Rich Dad Poor Dad explains what the rich teach their kids in order to successfully manage their finances. The book follows the journey of Robert and his upbringing where he learns from his real father, a poor but well educated working man and his friends Dad who is a rich investor. Robert learns and compares the results of their actions and how they lead to financially different lives. It is a great starting point in understanding how to manage money and with the right know-how you can avoid some of the most costly mistakes when starting your own business.

In a nutshell: The financial know-how that is the difference between being rich or being poor.

Top 5 business books

The $100 Startup

Starting your own business is much easier today than it was before the world wide web. The internet has changed the way we communicate, work and socialise. It has disrupted industries, created new ones and enabled billions to connect across the world. Being online has meant everyone is able to access the wealth of information and online tools to help them build their dream business.

The $100 startup focuses on being able to start your own business with little or no money. It does sound like it’s easier said than done and the idea requires a lot of time and effort but starting small and ending up at a comfortable spot is certainly possible. The idea is that you can lose the shackles of your 9-5 and gain control of your life and do what you love. One of the great things about this book is that it gives you real examples of what small successful startups have done which provides you with some great insights and inspiration.

In a nutshell: Learn from people who have built a successful business for next to no money.

Top 5 business books

the 4-Hour Work Week

If we really think about it we aren’t spending money we are spending time. Time is the real currency as once you have spent it you cannot get it back. As most of us know we exchange time for money in the form of a job where we work for someone else. This work model satisfies most peoples needs but ultimately it comes with its limitations in the form of a salary, fixed hours, set holiday leave, limited flexibility etc. So what if we could earn money but not spend time doing it? This is the passive income model. With the 4-hour work week it explores the possibilities of working from anywhere and with minimal time spent you can enjoy your time how you want along with the benefits of a passive income.

In a nutshell: The blueprint to living more and working less.

Top 5 business books

Zero to One

In Zero to One, Peter Thiel offers his immense insight and experience as one of the the co-founders of PayPal and other successful ventures. In business it’s easy to replicate what others have already done by imitating and often replicating the success but in the long term this approach to business can stagnate innovation and ultimately leads to the creation of new ideas slowing to a halt. Thiel focuses on the idea that to truly innovate with ideas that will shape the future you need to make the shift from 0 to 1.  This is illustrated by not redoing the same ideas to the nth degree but by looking to take big enough steps forward to break new ground. The book encourages you to think big and discusses ways to navigate your startup to reach it’s true potential.

In a nutshell: Shape the future by building what nobody else has yet.

Top 5 business books

How to Win Friends and Influence People

A timeless book written by Dale Carnegie, published in 1936 still carries the same principles and advice on human relationships as it does to this day. Carnegie explores the way our behaviours, thinking and emotions affect the way we influence people and how we can conduct ourselves to foster better relationships in our business and personal lives. It is certainly one of the must read books if you are looking to broaden your opportunities and extend your network.

In a nutshell: Broaden your horizons and opportunities with timeless practical advice.



Looking for more? Browse our entrepreneurship books at

A Day in the Life of Gabrielle Kent

As a full time computer games lecturer it’s difficult to find a whole day to write, so I tend to do this on weekends and holidays rather than weekday evenings. A typical day-job workday involves writing lectures on everything from games interfaces, to what makes a game fun to play. I usually teach a few classes per day and deliver a lecture to 200+ students. Between classes I organise elements of Animex, a large games and animation festival which I run at Teesside University.


A typical writing day, well, that’s quite a different story. At the start of a project I have to get out the house a lot and visit new places. All of this seems to help me develop my ideas and I’ll spend a few weeks scrawling ideas and story maps in lots of different colours on post-its and large sheets of paper. When this is finally complete, I create a chapter plan with a few sentences on what will happen in each individual chapter. Then I’m ready to begin the bulk of the work!

I mainly write at home and, because it is always during holidays from work, I have to do a lot of mental kicking to motivate myself to get on with it. I light a nice candle to help me focus, it has become a bit of a lucky ritual, then I put on some background music, nothing too exciting or I’d be up dancing and singing. I always start off writing at my desk in the spare bedroom, but being a huge fidget I move between the desk, the bed, and the floor at thirty minute intervals. I try to limit my access to the internet, but the fridge is a different matter, I make a lot of trips downstairs for tea and snacks.

I aim to write around 1500 words a day. Sometimes it’s a lot less, sometimes a lot more. I tend to follow my chapter plan at first, but the story usually takes on a life of its own at some point and carries me away with it. These deviations are always for the best, I love how my brain surprises me at regular intervals.

Now that I’m a bit more experienced as a writer I can trust myself more. When writing my first novel I tried to perfect everything straight away and it resulted in me getting stuck on a regular basis. Now I leave a little note in red for Future Gabrielle saying something like: ‘Write Alfie’s interaction with Artan here. Make it funny!’ It really speeds up the writing process, although when I do my first read through I do end up cursing Past Gabrielle on a regular basis.

I’m always more productive on rainy days. There’s something about rain pattering on the windows that makes me feel very creative. If I’m finding it difficult to focus, I go to a library and work there with good noise cancelling headphones. Parts of my books were written in libraries across the North East and North West. I actually typed the final pages of my third book in Stockton Central Library.

Towards publication a lot of my time is taken up with interviews and blog posts for magazines, bloggers and children’s book websites. I’ll also go on lots of trips to schools to talk about writing. This is great fun for me as I LOVE to meet my readers and to hear about what they think of my characters. Young readers are so full of ideas and so passionate about stories and characters, they inspire me to get straight back to my desk and start the whole process all over again.

You can get your copy of Alfie Bloom and the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle and Alfie Bloom and the Talisman Thief by Gabrielle Kent at Hive.

Alfie Bloom 2 cover hex

Spreading a Passion for Poetry – by Post!

As Father’s Day moves into view, what do you give a father who already has enough socks to fill every drawer in the house? The answer is poetry – poems about cricket, bicycles, gardening; poems about fathers and about fatherhood itself.  And also now, poems about cricket and war.


I’ve always loved reading poetry, but sometimes that isn’t an easy passion to share. Many people are afraid of it – perhaps they’ve been put off by studying poetry at school, where we’re told we have to know exactly what the poet is trying to tell us, or we feel it’s too difficult to understand. But many of the first books we read as children are written in rhyme, and we all know and love far more poetry than we realise – from nursery rhymes and nonsense to snatches of half-remembered verse. In times of crisis, or at the end of life when other memories recede, the verses we learned as children can still be called easily to mind – as proved by other poetry evangelists such as Deborah Alma, the Emergency Poet, who uses poetry in workshops with dementia sufferers.

At Candlestick Press, we’re passionate about bringing poetry to people in an age where everyone is short of time, but a quick fix of something touching and meaningful can make a big difference to your daily life. Our mission is to spread poetry far and wide, as well as getting people to send proper post again. It’s such a great – and increasingly unusual – pleasure to open a handwritten envelope and find something lovely inside. Our pamphlets are designed to be posted instead of a card (so they come complete with envelopes and bookmarks) and because each collection contains a handful of carefully selected poems, we believe people will enjoy dipping into them even if they might find a full anthology or collection daunting.

Our subjects are often suggested by readers, and Ten Poems about Cricket has definitely been published by popular demand.  It’s now flying off the press at just the moment that cricket balls are flying across village greens and sports fields.  Meanwhile, Ten War Poems coincides with the centenary year of the Battle of the Somme, one of the largest and bloodiest battles of World War I in which more than a million men were wounded or killed. Former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion has selected ten war poems that broaden the subject away from the familiar work of famous World War I poets such as Siegfried Sassoon, Isaac Rosenberg and Rupert Brooke, highlighting instead a range of voices from different countries, from ancient history to the present day. We’re incredibly moved by his selection and hope you will be too. poems2

Both publications continue our mission: to get poetry into the hands of people who love it, and also people who will love it but don’t know that yet. And we’re always on the lookout for inspiration for future pamphlets – so do tell us if there’s an enthusiasm of yours that should be marked with one of our publications!  All ideas very welcome.

Other Poetry titles from Candlestick Press include Five Nonsense Poems and Twelve Poems About Chickens.

Di Slaney, Candlestick Press (June 2016)

How To Look After Your Vinyl: A Simple Guide

Vinyl has a special place in most music lover’s hearts. The format has carried some of the world’s best loved music and artists to legendary status and has remained the purist’s choice amidst the wealth of new digital music technology.

Vinyl is enjoying a much loved revival with sales increasing 30% in 2015 and with the globally recognised Record Store Day vinyl certainly looks like it’s here to stay.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s

Adele - 21

Adele – 21

U2 - Boy

U2 – Boy

Madonna - Erotica

Madonna – Erotica

The classic vinyl format is being re-discovered by a new generation of music fans and to enjoy the analogue gems for years to come vinyl needs to be lovingly cared for. This is especially paramount for vinyl collectors as some copies can increase rapidly in value over the years, so taking care of your vinyl can be as important as maintaining a classic car!

20 Of The Most Valuable Records Ever [NME]

Top 50 Most Collectable Vinyl [The Telegraph]

So to help you keep you vinyl in mint condition here is some easy, straight-forward advice on how to look after your vinyl.

Vinyl Storage

So how do you look after your vinyl? The first step is to make sure it is stored correctly. This is key as vinyl is more likely to spend more time stored away than it played. Keeping vinyl stored in a clean, dry and humidity-free environment will ensure the it doesn’t warp, bend or collect dirt which will damage the vinyl and in some cases make it unplayable.

Foo Fighters - Sonic Highways

Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways

You need to make sure your vinyl is not leant on and is stored vertically. A well-built shelf or bookcase in which you can store blocks of around 15 with solid dividers will help keep the vinyl from leaning over. Again make sure it’s not by a window or heat source that can damage the vinyl over time.

Vinyl is best kept in its jacket and sleeve when not in use. This protects from unwanted scratches and dust which affects the quality of playback. Generally the inner sleeve should be the inexpensive white paper kind as this protects the vinyl better than the plastic ones which can over time permanently damage the vinyl.

You may choose to use additional plastic covers to help protect the jacket as this can wear and tear over time due to inserting/re-inserting the vinyl or removing/placing on the shelf.

Handling and Cleaning Vinyl

When handling vinyl care should be taken not to touch the playing surface but to handle the vinyl by the edges and inner label. This decreases the chance of scratching the surface and accumulating dirt and fingerprints.

When playing vinyl it’s advised that you use a lid on your record player (if it has one) to prevent dust and dirt collecting on the vinyl and the stylus.

Even with these simple vinyl care tips you are inevitably going to gain some dirt, dust or a fingerprint or two on your vinyl. You ideally want to avoid a build-up of grime as this will damage the stylus overt time.

This can be done with a vinyl brush to clear out the grooves of any stubborn dirt. You can also clean your vinyl with a mixture of distilled water and vinyl cleaning solution and then wipe the surface using a microfiber cloth to clear away any filth.

There are some other cleaning contraptions available that will deep clean your vinyl if you are more of a vinyl fanatic but they can be expensive and tend to need maintaining.

With the right care and attention vinyl can be a rewarding way to listen to music and with most favouring the physical format and nostalgia that is attached it should remain one of the most traditional ways of enjoying music.

You can view our range of top vinyl releases here –

Savour: Salads for All Seasons. See Salads in a new way! A great new Recipe Book


Forget all of your current pre-conceptions about Salads, this book will change all of that! It includes a huge variety of different recipes, for all seasons. Hot Salads, Cold Salads, get arty and creative and try something new.

Here is one we have chosen to wet your appetite…..

Crumbed Camembert, Apple, Mango, Salad Leaves and Radish…


What could be better than deep-fried crumbed cheese? Yum yum! Whether you use goats’ cheese, ricotta mixed with herbs and dried chilli and rolled into balls, mixed cheese scraps squashed together or, as here, Camembert, deep-frying it in this way is like having grilled (broiled) cheese on toast! Culinary purists may feel that combining a classic French cheese with mango is too odd but my Italian burrata with mango dressing (see page 138) will prove that mango is a great accompaniment to cheese. This works much better as a starter than a main as the cheese is very rich.


  • oil for frying
  • 1 ripe camembert (about 250g/9oz.), chilled, so it is firm enough to coat
  • 50g (1 ¾ oz./scant ½ cup) (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100g (3½ oz./1 3 cups) breadcrumbs
  • 1 mango, peeled and sliced
  • 2 crisp eating apples, quartered and cored, then julienned
  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 ½  tbsp lime juice
  • ½ tsp finely grated lime zest
  • 1 handful salad leaves (I used baby kale)


1.Heat 5cm (2in.) of oil in a medium pan to 180°C (350°F).

2. Cut the camembert into quarters. Toss in seasoned flour, coat with the beaten egg, then carefully coat with the breadcrumbs, making sure that the cheese is entirely coated. Return it to the fridge for at least 20 minutes to firm up.

3. Mix the mango, apples, radishes, honey, lime juice and lime zest together in a large bowl. As you toss it the honey will melt into the dressing. Add salt to taste.

4. As soon as you’re ready, deep-fry the cheese wedges until golden on all sides and drain on absorbent kitchen paper. If the cheese begins to ooze out of the coating into the hot oil then carefully remove it, but not until it’s golden.

5. To serve, place the salad leaves on four plates and spoon the mango salad on top. Place the deep-fried Camembert wedges on top, cut in half to allow the hot cheese to ooze over the salad. Eat while hot.

 Try this recipe and a whole lot more like it!

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