Last night Gary and I were at the Xmas party of the Biographer’s Club, held at the Albany, Piccadilly. There was a pause in the conversation and consumption of wine and canapés to hear the reading of the shortlist for and winner of the Tony Lothian prize, an award for the best proposal for an uncommissioned biography. The winner and also the other shortlisted projects are listed HERE.
Someone once suggested to me that non-fiction writing was just ‘looking stuff up and writing it down’. Those of us who have written non-fiction know it is so very much more. Its demands and constraints are far greater than fiction, and biography is one of the most daunting forms to tackle. Non-fiction explores, informs, reveals, explains, brings the past to life, and engages the reader in compelling true events. It can pervade the author with the thrill of making an original discovery that no fiction project can give.