26 April 2013
The 2013 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography will be awarded to Anne Somerset for Queen Anne (Harper Press).
The £5,000 Prize will be introduced by Professor Roy Foster and presented by Flora Fraser on Thursday 13 June, at the Society of Authors’ annual awards party, at The Army and Navy Club in Pall Mall. Other prizes administered by the Society will be presented by Carol Ann Duffy.
The prize is generously sponsored by Flora Fraser and Peter Soros in affectionate memory of Elizabeth Longford, the acclaimed biographer.
The judges this year were Lady Antonia Fraser, Flora Fraser, David Gilmour, Professor Munro Price and Professor Roy Foster (Chair), who commented:
'In an rich year for historical biography, the ELHB Prize committee had to deliberate long and hard; but in the end they judged that Anne Somerset's Queen Anne decisively fulfilled all criteria for a major work in the genre. Casting a wide scholarly net over the early eighteenth century, and deploying a large range of sources, it is also a psychologically subtle and surprisingly vivid portrait of a ruler who has hitherto remained obscure to her biographers. A large gap in the historiography of the age has been filled with authority, insight and empathy, in a book that will stand the test of time.'
Anne Somerset was born in Gloucestershire and now lives in London. She read History at King's College, London, and her first book The Life and Times of William IV was published in 1980. This was followed in 1984 by the bestselling Ladies-in-Waiting: From the Tudors to the Present Day, an acclaimed biography of Elizabeth I in 1991, Unnatural Murder: Poison in the Court of James I: The Overbury Murder in 1998 and in 2004 The Affair of the Poisons: Murder, Infanticide and Satanism at the Court of Louis XIV.