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Hisham Matar wins the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize 2016

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We are delighted to announce that the winner of the Biographers’ Club Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize 2016 is Hisham Matar for The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between.

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The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between

Born in New York City to Libyan parents, Hisham Matar was nineteen when his father was kidnapped and taken to prison in Libya. He would never see him again. Twenty-two years later, the fall of Gaddafi meant he was finally able to return to his homeland. 

In this extraordinary memoir, the author takes us on an illuminating journey, to find his father and rediscover his country – a journey both physical and psychological, at once universal and intensely personal. It is an exquisite meditation on how politics can bear down on an individual life. And yet Matar’s memoir is not just about the burden of the past, but about the consolations of love, literature and art. (Viking • £14.99 • Hb • June 2016)

‘What a brilliant book. The Return reads as easily as a thriller, but is a story that will stick; a person is lost but gravity and resonance remain.’ Hilary Mantel

About the Prize

The Prize is awarded to the best book published by a first-time biographer or memoirist. This year’s winner was announced at the Biographers’ Club Prize Dinner at the Savile Club. This is the third year of Slightly Foxed’s sponsorship, with a winner’s award of £3,500.


David Aaronovitch, Party Animals: My Family & Other Communists (Jonathan Cape)

David Hare, The Blue Touch Paper (Faber)

Hisham Matar, The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between (Random House)

Juliet Nicolson, A House Full of Daughters (Chatto & Windus)

Philippe Sands, East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide & Crimes against Humanity (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)


Richard Davenport-Hines, prolific biographer, most recently of John Maynard Keynes

Flora Fraser, historical biographer whose most recent book is George & Martha Washington: A Revolutionary Marriage

Ysenda Maxtone Graham, author of The Real Mrs Miniver, Mr Tibbits’s Catholic School and the forthcoming Terms & Conditions

The Biographers’ Club

The Biographers’ Club was founded in 1997, as a way for authors to meet film producers, publishers and journalists. The aim is to offer a broad range of talks and have a wide range of members from academic to popular biographers, agents, publishers, television producers, archivists in short, anyone with an interest in biography. The Biographers’ Club is committed to supporting, promoting and connecting biographers at all levels.

Slightly Foxed

Now in its 13th year and on its 50th issue, Slightly Foxed is the lively and independent literary magazine for people who love books. Companionable, entertaining and elegantly produced, Slightly Foxed puts its readers in touch with a world of interesting and often forgotten books. Within its striking covers its readers discover recommendations for good reading written by booklovers from all walks of life, from celebrated authors, up-and-coming writers, librarians and booksellers, to the general public. What all its contributors have in common is a passion for a particular book or author that they love. Printed in England by traditional craftsmen printers, Slightly Foxed strikes a blow for lasting quality in content and presentation – for the small and individual against the corporate and the mass produced.


For more information about Slightly Foxed or the Prize please contact:

Steph Allen
[email protected]
020 7729 9368; +44 20 7729 9368


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