Iain Dale, Chris Bryant MP and Dan Jarvis MP have been announced today as the winners of the 2020 Parliamentary Book Awards, beating David Lammy MP, Lord Adonis, Helen Lewis and The Secret Barrister.
Broadcaster Iain Dale won Best Political Book by a non-Parliamentarian for The Prime Ministers: 55 Leaders, 55 Authors, 300 Years of History, exploring each of the UK’s Prime Ministers, from lesser-known 18th century leaders to key historical figures such as Churchill, Attlee and Thatcher.
Chris Bryant MP was awarded Best Non-Fiction Book by a Parliamentarian for The Glamour Boys: The Secret Story of the Rebels who Fought for Britain to Defeat Hitler, a history of the young, queer MPs who argued against appeasement with Nazi Germany in the late 1930s, and faced persecution and threats of exposure from the British government for their work warning the public about Hitler.
Dan Jarvis MP received the Best Biography, Memoir or Autobiography by a Parliamentarian award for Long Way Home, reflecting on his time serving in the elite Parachute Regiment, as well as the tragic loss of his wife to cancer, and what these experiences taught him about love, life and death.
Now in their fifth year, the Parliamentary Book Awards were established by the Booksellers Association and the Publishers Association to celebrate political writing and recognise the vital link between politics and publishing. The only political book awards curated by bookshops and voted for by parliamentarians, previous winners have included Harriet Harman MP, Nick Clegg, Baroness Jowell, Jesse Norman MP and James O’Brien.
Meryl Halls, Managing Director of the Booksellers Association, said: “We are thrilled to announce this year’s Parliamentary Book Award winners, three fantastic titles which reflect the high standard of political writing being published today. It was wonderful to see the eclectic range of topics being tackled in the shortlist, which explored wartime activism by LGBT+ politicians, the history of political feminism, how to disrupt political norms, and the role of tribalism and identity in an increasingly global society. The Parliamentary Book Awards were launched to demonstrate the importance of books to the world of politics, and this year’s shortlist and winners continue to showcase this important connection.”
Stephen Lotinga, Chief Executive of the Publishers Association, said: “The Parliamentary Book Awards were established to celebrate the best of political writing. The quality of the UK’s political books can be seen in this year’s line-up which offers us personal reflections in Dan Jarvis’ Long Way Home, the story of a brave group of rebel politicians who changed the course of our history in Chris Bryant’s The Glamour Boys and an overview of all 55 British Prime Ministers in Iain Dale’s The Prime Ministers. All different, all brilliant. Huge congratulations to the winning authors and their publishers.”
Usually announced in a ceremony at the House of Lords, this year’s Parliamentary Book Awards winners were revealed live on The Matt Chorley Show on Times Radio at 11am today, with Chris Bryant MP, Dan Jarvis MP and Former Secretary of State for Digital Culture Media and Sport, Baroness Morgan of Cotes (who wrote Lord North’s profile in The Prime Ministers) being interviewed after the announcement.
Matt Chorley, Presenter on Times Radio, said: “If the last year has given us anything it is a greater need to understand how the country has run – and plenty of time to read all about it. With glitzy awards bashes still unable to happen, hopefully hosting the Parliamentary Book Awards live on the radio instead will help to showcase this brilliant crop of writers.”
Dan Jarvis MP commented on winning: “I’m absolutely delighted to have won and hugely grateful to my colleagues in parliament for voting for me.
“Long Way Home is my story of coping with the challenge of tragedy, grief and war. It took five years to complete and has been a real labour of love. Some of it proved incredibly painful to write but I hope it’s a compelling read.”
Chris Bryant MP said: “I feel honoured that my colleagues love this story of how the sustained fortitude of a group of gay men changed the world and helped see off fascism. I hope the men I have written about will now get the honour they deserve.”
Iain Dale added: “On behalf of the 55 contributors to The Prime Ministers, can I say how thrilled we are to receive this award. It was a massive project to coordinate and it is fantastic that the judges have recognised how important books like this are in promoting knowledge of the individuals who have helped shape this country over the last 300 years. Political writing is more important than ever and these awards showcase the best of it. Thank you.”
This year’s winners were selected from a varied shortlist featuring many key British political figures, with titles including Ernest Bevin; Labour’s Churchill by Andrew Adonis, Tribes: A Search for Belonging in a Divided Society by David Lammy, Difficult Women, A History of Feminism in 11 Fights by Helen Lewis and The Art of Disruption: A Manifesto For Real Change by Magid Magid.