Books on Empire, Migrant Crisis for the Baillie Gifford Prize

LONDON — Books about Britain’s imperial past and the human face of the current refugee crisis are among the finalists for Britain’s top non-fiction prize, the Baillie Gifford Prize.

The shortlist, published Monday, includes Harvard professor Caroline Elkins’ hard-hitting “Legacy of Violence: A History of the British Empire” and Irish journalist Sally Hayden’s “My Fourth Time, We Drowned: Seeking Refuge on the World’s Deadliest Migration Route “.

Four books by British authors are also among the finalists for the 50,000 pound ($55,000) prize.

They are Jonathan Freedland’s true Holocaust story “The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World;” Anna Keay’s “The Restless Republic: Britain Without a Crown,” which charts Britain’s brief period as a republic in the 17th century; Polly Morland’s “A Fortunate Woman: A Country Doctor’s Story” and Katherine Rundell’s poetic biography “Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne.”

Journalist Caroline Sanderson, who chairs the judging panel, said the six books “are wonderfully wide-ranging in setting, era and the creative approaches on display. But no matter how different the canvas, all have compelling human stories at their heart.”

The Baillie Gifford Prize recognizes English-language books from any country in the fields of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts.

Last year’s winner was Patrick Radden Keefe’s “Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty,” an expose of the family that helped spark America’s opioid epidemic.

The winner of the 2022 prize will be announced on 17 November at a ceremony in London.

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