2020 Shortlist

Announced 30th April 2020

“The Elizabeth Longford Historical Biography Prize has traditionally considered a wide range of biography, examining people who ‘made’ history in terms of intellectual influence as well as in the spheres of power and politics. This is strikingly true of the short-list for the 2020 Prize. It includes magisterial studies of the intellectual and personal lives of two hugely influential historians, Lewis Namier and Eric Hobsbawm; a thoughtful biography of a powerfully subversive Enlightenment thinker, Denis Diderot; the first major biographical study of the composer Michael Tippett, whose life and preoccupations closely mirrored the course of twentieth century; and a psychologically incisive portrait of by far the most intellectual member of the British Royal Family, Albert Prince Consort. All were gifted “outsiders’ driven by complex motivations to assert themselves and bring their personalities to bear on the worlds where they found themselves; these distinguished biographies illuminate how this happened, in perceptive and often unexpected ways.”

Professor Roy Foster, Chair of Judges