Lunch with Selina Hastings - Tuesday 28 October

Come and meet Selina Hastings, distinguished biographer of Nancy Mitford, Evelyn Waugh, Rosamond Lehmann and Somerset Maugham, and winner of the Biographers’ Club Lifetime Services to Biography Award.

Selina Hastings will talk about her new book, THE RED EARL, a biography of her father Jack Hastings, 16th Earl of Huntingdon. Jack rebelled against his background, marrying an unsuitable woman, adopting a Bohemian lifestyle, and espousing left wing causes. The book takes us from London in the Roaring Twenties, to a sheep farm in Australia, to tropical Tahiti, to the West Coast of America, where Jack became assistant to the celebrated radical artist Diego Rivera. Its cast includes royalty, aristocrats, movie stars, industrialists, and artists.

Venue and time: The Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, London W2 1QJ. 12.30 for 1pm.

Tickets: £30.

Book with This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and send cheques (made out to the Biographers' Club) to Nicholas Clee, 8 Plimsoll Road, London N4 2EW. Bank details available on request. Please state if you are vegetarian.


Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize:

Shortlist Announced

Titles by Ali A Allawi, Rachel Cooke, Henry Marsh, Rory Muir, and Claudia Renton are on the shortlist for the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize, worth £3,500.

  • FAISAL I OF IRAQ, Ali A Allawi (Yale)

The judges are Lucy Hughes-Hallett, Jane Ridley, and Anthony Sattin. The Prize will be announced at the Biographers' Club Prize dinner, taking place at the National Liberal Club on Friday 21 November.


Summer party

The Club's summer party took place on Wednesday 18 June in the beautiful garden of an 18th-century house, graced by the spirits of Muzio Clementi and Felix Mendelssohn, in Kensington, with music by the Crouch End Allstars (Wally Fawkes on clarinet).

summer party hicks laoutaris alexander donnan

Gary Hicks, Chris Laoutaris, James Hamilton, Emma Donnan

summer party ridley eade

Jane Ridley, Philip Eade

summer party allstars

The Crouch End Allstars


Prize Dinner

The Biographers' Club Prize dinner - featuring the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize, the Tony Lothian Prize, and the Lifetime Services to Biography Prize - will take place at the National Liberal Club on Friday 21 November. Further details to follow.


How To Get the Best Out of Your Researches

biog panel may14From left: Inez Lynn of the London Library, Anne de Courcy (Chair), Jane Ridley, and Chris Laoutaris were the expert and informative panellists at the Club's latest panel event, held at the Swedenborg Hall on 20 May.






How To Pitch, and Promote, Your Book

how to pitch mar14There was a packed audience at Swedenborg Hall on 3 March for an event that imparted a wealth of practical advice on dealing with agents, publishers, publicists, and literary festivals.

Pictured left to right are Andrew Lownie (founder and Life President of the Biographers’ Club); Ariane Bankes (Buxton and Dovedale festivals); Ruth Killick (Ruth Killick Publicity, former Publicity Director at Profile Books); Anne de Courcy (Biographers' Club Chairman); and Bea Hemming  (Editorial Director at Weidenfeld & Nicolson).


Charles Moore wins HW Fisher Best First Biography Prize
prize dinner 13 moore2The HW Fisher Best First Biography Prize (£5,000) has gone to Charles Moore for the first volume of Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography (Allen Lane). Moore received the Prize at the Biographers’ Club Prize dinner, held at the Savile Club in London on 20th November (pictured right with Andrew Subramaniam of HW Fisher).
Runner-up for the Prize was Harriet Tuckey for Everest: The First Ascent (Ebury), her account of her father’s role as doctor to the team that first climbed Everest. Also shortlisted were Kate Bassett for In Two Minds, her life of Jonathan Miller (Oberon); Robert Beaken for Cosmo Lang, Archbishop in War and Crisis (IB Tauris);  Alan Johnson for his memoir of his extraordinary childhood, This Boy (Bantam Press); and John Smart for Tarantula’s Web, a wide-ranging life of John Hayward, close friend of T.S. Eliot.
D.J. Taylor, on behalf of the judges – who included biographer Sally Cline and Robert Collins, Deputy Literary Editor of the Sunday Times – commented: “The shortlist for the H.W. Fisher Prize is brimful of variety, ranging from the lives of bygone litterateurs and distinguished churchmen to world-famous politicians and mountaineers, and demonstrates biography's ability to reinvent itself to meet some of the challenges to which all literary forms – and this one especially – are subject.”
The Biographers’ Club Tony Lothian Prize (£2,000) for the best proposal by an uncommissioned, first-time biographer went to Elaine Thornton for her proposal for a life of Amalia Beer, mother of the composer Giacomo Meyerbeer, and a tireless patron and proponent of Jewish cultural life in 19th-century Vienna. Runner-up was Eleanor Fitzsimmons for A Want of Honour: The Tragic Life and Death of Harriet Shelley. The Prize is sponsored by The Duchess of Buccleuch. The judges were Andrew Lycett, Tracy Borman, and Helen Fry. Lycett commented: “Getting across the essence of a compelling life story in a shortish space is an essential skill for any aspiring biographer. The judges were hugely impressed by the application of all who submitted entries for this prize. Their standard was high and their range of subjects wide.”
Lady Antonia Fraser won the Biographers’ Club Lifetime Services to Biography Award, receiving a glass bowl engraved by Peter Furlonger. She succeeds previous winners Michael Holroyd, Philip Zeigler, Selina Hastings, and Claire Tomalin.


Founded in 1997 by literary agent and biographer Andrew Lownie, the Biographers' Club is an umbrella organisation which seeks to educate, inspire, promote and foster a better understanding of the art of biography and its relevance across the broad spectrum of human endeavour. Through our events, we create a forum for this understanding, a public benefit for all in the art of biography across all media and disciplines, and a professional and social interaction among its membership.


For general enquiries please contact Nicholas Clee: info at biographersclub dot co dot uk

For membership enquiries contact Philippa Bernard: membership at biographersclub dot co dot uk

For events enquiries contact: secretary at biographersclub dot co dot uk Please email this address to book your place at our events

For prize enquiries contact Ariane Bankes, ariane dot bankes at googlemail dot com or call 020 7359 7769


Request to potential new Members

We would like to invite the regular (currently non-member) guests who attend our events to apply for membership of the Biographers' Club. Annual fee is £35. Please contact Philippa Bernard (email: membership at biographersclub dot co dot uk) to check if you are eligible to join (also, please read the criteria contained in the Membership Application form, available on the Home and Members pages, right-hand green button).

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©2011 Biographers' Club. All rights reserved. Designed by Dawn Roberts
Club founded by Andrew Lownie (President). Committee: Anne de Courcy (Chairman), Sarah Anderson, Philippa Bernard, Nicholas Clee, Caroline Knox, Brenda Maddox, Jane Ridley, David Waller.

Associate committee members: Jane Mays, Ariane Bankes (Prize Administrator).

Address for cheques [for events and membership]: 8 Plimsoll Road, London N4 2EW.

Address for entry fee cheques for the Tony Lothian Prize and HW Fisher Prize: 79 Arlington Avenue, London N1 7BA.


Company No. 6771370. Registered Charity No. 1128358.