Slightly Foxed and The Biographers’ Club are delighted to announce the shortlist for the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize 2021.
The prize of £2,500 was awarded on Tuesday 8 March 2022 at Maggs Bros., Bedford Square, London.
Windswept: Walking in the Footsteps of Remarkable Women by Annabel Abbs (Two Roads)
Windswept takes an exhilarating journey from the author’s care-free childhood tramping the Welsh valleys to the remote journeys of extraordinary women who walked to find minds of their own and assert their independence – Frieda Lawrence, Gwen John, Nan Shepherd, Georgia O’Keeffe and Simone de Beauvoir among them.
Will She Do? Act One of a Life on Stage by Eileen Atkins (Virago)
Gloriously refreshing, this memoir whisks one of our greatest actors from a council estate in Tottenham to her breakthrough on Broadway, and a sixty-year career on stage and screen. Her honesty, eye for the absurd and narrative flair make Atkins’s remarkable story of family, class, youthful ambition and big dreams irresistible.
Dostoevsky in Love: An Intimate Life by Alex Christofi (Bloomsbury Continuum)
Parsing Dostoevsky’s own words, Christofi reconstructs the memoir he might have written, from Siberian prison camp to Europe’s gambling halls and the salons of St Petersburg. Central are the three women he loved and lived with, through epilepsy, poverty and addiction to gambling. Christofi gives us a new and intimate portrait of a writer able to penetrate the depths of the human soul.
John Craxton: A Life of Gifts by Ian Collins (Yale University Press)
The artist John Craxton was born bohemian, and crafted a life of heroic hedonism. He determined to live and paint in Greece, achieving his aim in the 1940s. Byzantine mosaics, El Greco and Greek culture coloured his work and shaped his life thereafter. Collins captures the charm and many talents of a singular artist and remarkable man.
Free: Coming of Age at the End of History by Lea Ypi (Allen Lane)
Lea Ypi grew up in Albania, the last Stalinist outpost of Europe, where communism had officially replaced religion. In 1990, everything changed. As one generation’s aspirations became another’s disillusion, and as her own family secrets were revealed, Ypi found herself asking what freedom really meant.
The judges for the 2021 prize are Susannah Clapp, Horatio Clare and Johnny de Falbe.
Susannah Clapp is Theatre Critic for the Observer and author of memoirs of Bruce Chatwin and Angela Carter.
Horatio Clare is the author of several books of travel and memoir, most recently Heavy Light: A Story of Madness, Mania and Healing.
Johnny de Falbe is the director of John Sandoe Books and author of three novels.
For any further information on the prize, the shortlisted books or to arrange interviews with the authors, please contact Stephanie Allen / Hattie Summers: [email protected]/ +44 (0) 20 7033 0258