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Winner | Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize 2023

“My family has a reverence for books. In my mother’s house in Amsterdam there were books everywhere. Books on the shelves, books on the table, books on the floor, books on the arms of all the chairs. When my family were arrested the Nazis took all the books and my grandfather never got them back because he loved his books too much to deface them by writing his name in them. But he still rebuilt his collection fast enough that when Mum and Dad married he gave them 300 of his books as an engagement gift. Imagine therefore how much it means to me and to my family to win this wonderful award from such a distinguished literary magazine and the biographers club. I am so sorry to be away and embarrassed not to be with you. But it’s fitting that my Harper Collins colleagues collect it for it is their award too, for their support and guidance. Please drink a toast to literary endeavours and to all who engage in them. I thank you for this honour from the bottom of my heart.” Daniel Finkelstein

Slightly Foxed and The Biographers’ Club are delighted to announce that the winner of the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize 2023, chosen by judges Philip Eade, Sue Gaisford and Clare Mulley is Hitler, Stalin, Mum & Dad by Daniel Finkelstein.

Daniel Finkelstein is a British journalist and opinion writer. A former executive editor of The Times, he continues to write for the paper. He has been Political Columnist of the Year four times and recently joined the board of Chelsea Football Club. He was appointed to the House of Lords in 2013.

Hitler, Stalin, Mum & Dad is a deeply moving, personal and at times horrifying memoir about Finkelstein’s parents’ experiences at the hands of the two genocidal dictators of the twentieth century. It is a story of persecution; survival; and the consequences of totalitarianism told with the almost unimaginable bravery of two ordinary families shining through.⁠

‘“Truth lies at the feet of liberty” – what a brilliant opening line. This is an important, powerful and deeply humane account of one family surviving the criminal, murderous policies of both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and of one man’s prescience in cataloguing Nazi crimes. Hitler, Stalin, Mum & Dad is a masterclass in biography.’
Judge Clare Mulley

View press release

About the Prize

The Prize awards £2,500 to the judges’ choice of the best first biography published each year. The winner was announced at a prize giving celebration on Tuesday 19th March 2024. This is the 10th year that Slightly Foxed has sponsored the Prize.

Previous winners: Katherine Rundell, Super-Infinite, Osman Yousefzada, The Go-Between, Lea Ypi, Free; Heather Clark, Red Comet; Jonathan Phillips, The Life and Legend of the Sultan Saladin; Bart van Es, The Cut Out Girl; Edmund Gordon, The Invention of Angela Carter; Hisham Matar, The Return; Alan Cumming, Not My Father’s Son; Claudia Renton, Those Wild Wyndhams; Charles Moore, Margaret Thatcher; Thomas Penn, Winter King; and Matthew Hollis, Now All Roads Lead to France.

2023 Shortlist

‘Each of the five exceptional books on the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize shortlist 2023 engages with memoir and biography in a way that resonates powerfully. Whether they reveal history that has been overlooked, mine personal memories that hold universal truths, or use a fresh and distinctive approach to bring new insights to better-known subjects, each one has been rigorously researched, beautifully written, and presents an original and compelling life story.’ Judges Philip Eade, Sue Gaisford and Clare Mulley

2023 Judges

  • Philip Eade is the author of three biographies, Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters (2007), Young Prince Philip (2011) and Evelyn Waugh: A Life Revisited (2016), all of which appeared in The Sunday Times’s ten best biographies of the year; the last two were also Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4.
  • Sue Gaisford reviewed non-fiction for the Economist for twenty years before moving to the Independent. She now reviews for the Financial Times and the Tablet, where she became Literary Editor.
  • Clare Mulley is an award-winning author and broadcaster. Her three books, The Woman Who Saved the Children, The Spy Who Loved and The Women Who Flew for Hitler, are all under option and widely translated. Clare writes and reviews for various papers including the Spectator and the TLS, and has twice been chair of the judges for the Historical Writers Association non-fiction prize.

Slightly Foxed

Slightly Foxed: The Real Reader’s Quarterly and its acclaimed list of classic limited-edition memoirs have become something of an institution in the literary world. Contributors to the magazine include: Diana Athill, Quentin Blake, Ronald Blythe, Margaret Drabble, Adam Foulds, Melissa Harrison, Michael Holroyd, Amy Liptrot, Penelope Lively, Richard Mabey, Robert Macfarlane, Dervla Murphy, Sarah Perry, Jane Ridley, Christopher Rush, Posy Simmonds, Adam Sisman, Ali Smith and Jacqueline Wilson.

‘Slightly Foxed’s best offering is its quarterly, in which a dozen or so elegant essays make a case for various amusing but neglected books. A subscription would make an inspired gift for a hungry reader.’ Telegraph

The Slightly Foxed series of memoirs includes works by: Edward Ardizzone, Adrian Bell, Roald Dahl, Jennie Erdal, Anne Fadiman, Graham Greene, Helene Hanff, Diana Holman-Hunt, Michael Holroyd, Laurie Lee, James Lees-Milne, Hilary Mantel, Gavin Maxwell, Jessica Mitford, Jan Morris, Eric Newby, Ernest Shepard and Rosemary Sutcliff.

‘The business of reading should please the hand and eye as well as the brain, and Slightly Foxed editions – books or quarterly – are elegant creations. Content follows form, offering new discoveries and old favourites to curious and discriminating readers.’ Hilary Mantel


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

Steph Allen/Jennie Harrison-Bunning
[email protected]
020 7729 9368; +44 20 7729 9368

Daniel Finkelstein wins The Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize 2023

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