The shortlist for the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize has been announced today (judges' comments follow each book):
David Jones, Engraver, Soldier, Painter, Poet by Thomas Dilworth
This comprehensive life of the great Modernist poet-artist David Jones is the fruit of a lifetime’s research and understanding, and brings new light to shine on Jones’s rare originality and genius.
The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography by Edmund Gordon
In this finely judged and elegantly written biography, Gordon teases out the truth behind Angela Carter’s fictions about her own life, while recounting the brilliant and volatile career of this born writer, critic and fabulist.
A best-selling, no-holds-barred account of life at the coalface of the NHS by a comedian and former doctor, hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking by turns.
Young, Damned and Fair: The Life and Tragedy of Catherine Howard by Gareth Russell
A stunning reappraisal of Henry VIII’s fifth wife, as scholarly as it is readable, that uses extensive research into her household to bring her chequered story vividly to life.
The Uncommon Reader: A Life of Edward Garnett by Helen Smith
An exemplary life of the writer and editor with a gift for spotting genius, champion of Conrad, Galsworthy, D.H. and T.E. Lawrence and Somerset Maugham, literary godfather to the Edwardian age.
Kenneth Clark: Life, Art and Civilisation by James Stourton
As a new version of Civilisation comes to our screens, the complex figure of Kenneth Clark, aesthete, broadcaster, writer and cultural panjandrum, is dissected in this perceptive and entertaining biography.
The winner will be announced on 6th. March.