The Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography was established in 2003 in affectionate memory of Elizabeth Longford, the acclaimed biographer, and is sponsored by Flora Fraser and Peter Soros. This £5,000 prize is awarded annually for historical biographies, in English, and published or distributed in the United Kingdom, in the calendar year preceding. Works in translation are not eligible.
No unsolicited submissions are accepted.
This year's winner was Julian Jackson for A Certain Idea of France: The Life of Charles de Gaulle (Allen Lane).
Commenting on this year's winner, the Chair of Judges, Roy Foster said:
A Certain Idea of France draws an unforgettable portrait of a divisive, awkward, self-contradictory but immensely impressive figure, and does so with empathy, deep scholarship and shafts of enlivening Gallic wit.
Though a long book, based on enormous archival research, it is compulsively readable throughout. Julian Jackson profoundly and quizzically examines the concepts of patriotism, nationalism and colonialism, through world war and uneasy peace, while unswervingly focussing on a single extraordinary life. A Certain Idea of France conclusively demonstrates the value of historical biography at its best, achieving exactly what the Elizabeth Longford Prize exists to recognise.
This year’s shortlist included:
- Thomas Cromwell: A Life by Diarmaid MacCulloch (Allen Lane)
- Churchill: Walking with Destiny by Andrew Roberts (Allen Lane)
- The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart (Oxford University Press)
About Elizabeth Longford
Elizabeth Longford (1906-2002) was born Elizabeth Harman. She married Frank Pakenham, later Earl of Longford, in 1931. She was a celebrated biographer and historian and continued to write well into her nineties. Her many publications include Victoria, which appeared in 1964, a two-volume biography of Wellington, Churchill, The Queen Mother: A biography, Elizabeth R, and Royal Throne: The Future of the Monarchy, which was published in 1993.
For more information, please visit the ELHB website.