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2021 The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction

In the 23rd prize year, the nominated books explored empire and its impact, personal stories, the environment, and notorious historical figures from a range of international authors, including two pieces in translation.

Longlist announced

9 September 2021

Shortlist announced

15 October 2021

Winner & prize ceremony

16 November 2021

What the judges said

"What impressed us most was the skill with which he has told his jaw-dropping tale, and how immersive and unputdownable he has made the telling”

The Winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2021
Patrick Radden Keefe with his winning book 'Empire of Pain'

View the gallery of the prize-giving ceremony

The 2021 Baillie Gifford Prize shortlist announcement
What the judges said

"Every one of these books is an enveloping read. There's attack here, deep learning, challenge, keen analysis and revelation, but above all, there is outstanding storytelling, and deep pleasure to be had in reading all six of the books on this list"

What the judges said

"A list full of rigour, endeavour, variety and real verve, open to a broad readership, with some terrific surprises, and an onus on originality"

The 2021 longlist

Meet the judges for 2021

The longlist, shortlist and winner is chosen by a panel of independent judges, which changes every year.

Andrew Holgate

Literary editor of The Sunday Times

Sara Collins

Winner of the 2019 Costa First Novel Award

Dr Helen Czerski

Physicist, Oceanographer, writer and broadcaster

Kathryn Hughes

Literary non-fiction critic for the Guardian newspaper

Dominic Sandbrook

Historian and columnist

More about the judges